VOLUME VIIWhen to Change the Rental Listing Status on the MLSBy Jonathan PressmanEvery Realtor should know precisely when to change the status of a rental listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), both for their benefit and the benefit of their clients. The listing status indicates if a property is still available for rent, and tells other Realtors whether or not they can pursue these rentals for their clients. However, there are some details that should be kept in mind.

Only Change the Status When the Lease Is Fully ExecutedRealtors should only change the status of a listing on the MLS when they have a fully executed lease and a security deposit from the renter. A fully executed lease should include an agreement to the terms outlined in the lease, and signatures from both the landlord and the tenant

What Are the Risks of Changing the Status Too Soon?Realtors who prematurely change the status of a rental listing on the MLS risk losing potential renters. That includes changing the status to “pending.”

Pending listings mean the property is under contract to be leased but has not yet fully closed. A pending status on a rental indicates the landlord does not want any additional showings and is not accepting backup offers. In this situation, Realtors who mark a listing as pending before the lease is executed might discourage prospective renters from touring, expressing interest in the property and even submitting an offer.

Realtors who change the status of a listing too soon also risk violating Standard 3-10 of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Code of Ethics. Standard of Practice 3-10 states Realtors have an “obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective tenants when it is in the best interest of landlords.” If a property is available for showing and the listing is marked as pending, it could point to a violation of the NAR Code of Ethics.

What Are the Risks of Changing the Status Late?Realtors should avoid neglecting to change the listing status after a lease is fully executed, too. According to Section 11 of the Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy, associations of Realtors have the right to remove the listing from the MLS if the participant (i.e., Realtor) fails to report changes to the listing status in a timely manner. Even if the association decides not to remove the listing, Realtors should update listing statuses to save themselves and other Realtors from the hassle of wasting time on a listing that’s already pending.

While changing the status on the MLS to pending may seem harmless, doing so in advance of receiving a fully executed lease and security deposit can be costly for landlords, Realtors and clients alike. Realtors should exercise patience and diligence, changing the listing status only at the appropriate time