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Anti-Competitive Boycott Agreements in The Real Estate Business

25. januar 2012

On January 25, 2012, the Danish Competition Council settled a case, in which more than 65 per cent of the Danish real estate business, including the trade association and the six largest cooperative chains of independent estate agents, had been involved in anti-competitive boycott agreements against one particular property search portal, Boliga.dk.

Documents obtained during unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of players on the real estate market had revealed that the parties of the case had agreed on a coordinated strategy to deny Boliga.dk access to photos of property for sale on the internet. The purpose of this strategy was to eliminate Boliga.dk from the market in order to increase the competitive power of the only other property search portal of any importance on the Danish market (Boligsiden.dk), which is controlled by the real estate business itself.

The Competition Council ordered the parties to terminate and to abstain from any future agreements, decisions or concerted practices, which have as their direct or indirect object or effect the restriction of individual estate agents' rights to allow Boliga.dk (or other property search portals) to show photos of their clients' properties.

As the case concerned a hard core violation of Section 6 of the Danish Competition Act, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority is considering to submit the case to the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime.

Furthermore, and concurrently with the Competition Council's decision, the Competition and Consumer Authority issued recommendations to the consumers to make sure that their property for sale is presented with a photo on Boliga.dk and other relevant property search portals when they sign a contract with an estate agent.

These recommendations are published on the Authority's consumer portal,www.forbrug.dk together with a standard text that the consumers may download and use as an additional clause to their contract with an estate agent.

For further information please contact Ann Sofie Vrang (+45 4171 5016, asj@kfst.dk), Mimosa Memedi (+45 4171 5221, mem@kfst.dk) or Karen Berg (+45 4171 5142,kb@kfst.dk).