Matthew Prensky
Matthew Prensky · April 12, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—On Tuesday, officials at the Mississippi Real Estate Commission (MREC) voted unanimously to change Commission policy so that effective immediately MREC will no longer consider the geographic distance between a supervising broker and a real estate salesperson when evaluating applications. This reversal comes two weeks after the Institute for Justice (IJ) sent a letter to MREC, calling on them to reconsider this unwritten policy. 

MREC is a state commission charged with regulating Mississippi’s real estate industry, including licensing all real estate brokers and salespeople. Up until Tuesday, as part of the application process to become a salesperson, MREC staff required applicants to live within an hour’s drive, or about 50 miles, of their supervising real estate brokers. This requirement for licensure wasn’t a formal, published rule. Rather it was a staff interpretation of another commission rule; one which simply requires a “responsible broker … to exercise supervision.” 

In its letter to MREC, IJ warned the state commission that its unwritten rule violated the constitutional rights of Mississippians. As a result, during a regularly scheduled commission meeting on Tuesday, MREC voted to overturn this unwritten policy, effectively allowing a real estate salesperson to live where they choose and use today’s technology or other means to receive supervision from their supervising broker. 

“The Commission made the right choice,” said IJ Attorney Michael Soyfer. “The unwritten, one-hour-drive policy confounded applicants and denied licenses to qualified salespeople whose brokers could use all of the remote work tools available today to supervise effectively from a distance. IJ commends the Commission for acting to protect applicants’ constitutional right to pursue a career.” 

This victory is the latest chapter in IJ’s long history of fighting unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions that prevent Americans from earning an honest living, including another victory in Pennsylvania, where IJ successfully argued that the state’s real estate licensure requirements were unconstitutional when applied to short-term rental property managers.