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PHOTO RULE 8.23 & WATERMARKS

Rule 8.23 was updated on 2/21/23 to better outline what can go into the media of a listing.

RULE 8.23 - RECENT CHANGES

ARMLS Rule 8.23 defines what is and isn’t allowed on media attached to a listing in the MLS system. The rule prohibits contact information and branding (including phone numbers, email, individual names, websites, entity names or advertising of any kind) on media. To improve the quality of media the new rule change applies to watermarks, certain text on photographs and people in media to better align with fair housing regulations.

Rule 8.23 items:

  • “Media may not include people unless they are in the background of such Media.”
  • “Photographs and other Media may not be altered to display text, or images except to identify the property’s location attributions, or watermarks of any kind except for those specifically provided by ARMLS and displayed in such Media as permitted by ARMLS guidelines.”

EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED

Hover over each example to see why it violates the rules.

Watermarks (Not ARMLS Approved)

Non-ARMLS Approved Watermark

The image contains a watermark labeled “Not for Rent” in text form that is not ARMLS approved.

Text Overlay

Text in Media

The image contains a video thumbnail with text and shapes overlayed

Text Overlay

Text in Media

The image contains text stating the Solar is “owned”.

Text Overlay & People

Text in Media

The image contains text about a pickleball club that is not allowed in media.

Images With People

Images With People

The image of the bathroom contains the photographer in the mirror.

Images With People

Images With People

This image contains other people.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS ALLOWED

Hover over each example to see why it would be allowed.

Location Attribute 

Property Location Attribute

The image contains an outline around a basketball court with text describing a property attribute.

Location Attribute 

Property Location Attribute

The image contains an outline around the property lot.

Floorplan

Property Location Attribute

The image contains a floorplan of a condo with descriptive title.

Condo/Apartment Name Signs

Property Location Attribute

The image contains a sign to the specific condominium complex.

Location Attribute 

Property Location Attribute

The image contains a location marker of the unit as well as the unit number.

Location Attribute 

Property Location Attribute

The image contains an area highlighted with a circle where the mailbox is located.

QUESTIONS AGENTS ARE ASKING

What defines media?

Media means a photograph, floor plan, rendering, document, and virtual tour / video attached to a listing in the MLS.

Is virtual staging prohibited?

No, virtual staging is allowed. If you choose to denote with a watermark on any media that it is virtually staged, you must use an ARMLS-approved watermark. This includes copyright or other company’s watermarks as well.

See below for ARMLS approved watermarks.

Is it a requirement to use the ARMLS-approved virtually staged watermark if the photograph is virtually staged?

No, the ARMLS-approved watermark is optional. However, your broker may have different requirements.

Why are people not allowed in media?

People are not allowed in media to align with Fair Housing regulations and assist in mitigating fair housing issues.

The new rule prohibits people in media except if they are in the background, what does that mean?

This exception was intended for (but is not limited to):
  • People in a picture frame in the background of a photo
  • People that appear in the background as a silhouette
Note, these exceptions are still subject to Fair Housing rules.

Now that text is prohibited on photographs, where can I add disclosures or additional information about the photograph/property?

You may add disclosures or additional information in the media description field found in Flexmls. The media description field can also be used to enter text for ADA (American with Disabilities Act) purposes, but cannot be used for contact information or branding of any kind.

POLICY & FINE TIMELINE

There is a six-month fine abatement period starting on Feb 21 and lasting until August 2023.

ANNOUNCEMENT PHASE
January 18 – Feb 21, 2023
Time allotted to make any changes or updates to photos.
$0 – ARMLS will not yet collect or accept violation reports for this policy.

EDUCATION PHASE
Feb 21 – October 5, 2023
ARMLS will begin enforcing this rule with no fines issued.
$0 – ARMLS will start accepting reports. Fines abated for six months.

ENFORCEMENT PHASE
October 5, 2023 – onward
Fine abatement ends. Subscribers can still submit photos for review.
$200 – ARMLS will issue the full fine of $200 for any violation of this policy.

Fines collected are donated to real-estate related 501(3)(c) charities: ARMLS Fine Donations.

ARMLS APPROVED WATERMARK

WATERMARK USAGE RULES

Rules when using ARMLS approved Watermarks:

  • Only place one watermark per photo.
  • No changes to the original design and colors.

APPROVED WATERMARK PNG DOWNLOADS

STATUS WATERMARK

To save the watermark PNG on your desktop, right-click the image you want and choose Save Image As.

For Sale Only black watermark
For Rent Only Black Watermark
For Sale or Rent black watermark
For Sale Not Rent Black Watermark
For Sale Only Watermark white
For Rent Only white watermark
For Sale or Rent watermark white
For Sale not rent white watermark

VIRTUALLY STAGED WATERMARK

a black watermark that says "virtually staged"
a white watermark that says "Virtually staged"

TO-BE-BUILT / UNDER CONSTRUCTION WATERMARKS

EXAMPLES

Examples:

Click to view larger.

Black Watermark Example

example of a property with a black watermark in the corner

Black Virtually Staged Watermark Example

a light living room background with the virtually staged watermark in black

White Watermark Example

an example of a property with a white watermark

White Virtually Staged Watermark Example

a dark living room with the Virgually Staged watermark in white

Black Watermark Example

example of a property with a black watermark in the corner

White Watermark Example

an example of a property with a white watermark

SUBMIT A PHOTO

Want some extra clarification? Submit your photo for Data Integrity’s approval.

Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 3 files.
Allowed file type: JPEG, PNG, JPG Max file size: 10mb Max files: 3
Any comments, questions or details you would like to include about your photo review.