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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C., March 22, 2004—Competitive Enterprise Institute Technology Counsel Braden Cox is urging New York’s Secretary of State to help the state’s real estate market join the 21st century. In an open letter to Secretary Randy Daniels, Cox and several co-signers point out that a New York licensing law discriminates against online businesses that provide consumers with real estate listing information.
“The current licensing law for providers of rental information dates from 1975 and contains requirements such as hard-copy contracts, advance submissions of listings, and a ban on advertising of specific properties that are incompatible with the convenience, control, and lower costs of online information services,” said Cox. “Consumers have come increasingly to expect efficient, streamlined ways of doing business electronically – many of which didn’t exist even a few years ago. The state of New York badly needs to start catching up with the market.”
The law's clash with e-commerce has been the bane of existence for New York broker LaLa Wang and her real estate portal, MLX.com. Ms. Wang’s service allows renters and buyers to find matched listings via the web and e-mail and hosts message centers that offer a place to exchange questions and opinions. It provides New York City property seekers and owners with many of the same services as “traditional” real-estate brokerage companies—consultation and negotiation assistance—but it does not show properties.
The problem of innovative businesses running into dated regulatory regimes goes far beyond the real estate market and the State of New York, of course. All too often, a shortsighted set of rules justified as protecting consumers come to actually harm them. It is hoped that Secretary Daniels will see how current rules are the keeping New Yorkers from having access to the information they need and act accordingly.
The letter is available by clicking here .