B.C. real estate regulator swamped by complaints

by Ephraim Vecina31 May 2017
A mounting number of public complaints is placing the Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s staff at great risk of burnout, according to acting executive director Erin Seeley.
Seeley attributed the deluge of grievances (which increased by a full 61 per cent) to a growing public perception of the RECBC seeming powerlessness to regulate miscreant brokers and agents in the province’s red-hot housing segment.
Over 700 complaints will be carried over into the next fiscal year (which starts July 1), and investigators who used to handle just 30 to 45 cases each are now entangled with over a hundred files each. Seeley lamented the lack of new personnel to handle the vastly increased workload.
In response to the enormous challenge, the Council is now working on the full digitization of the complaints process, and while this won’t actually reduce the caseload, the step will introduce a more streamlined approach that would hopefully lead to faster resolutions.
“Initially, we’re going to have to go with a phased approach to this,” Seeley told The Globe and Mail.
Additionally, the RECBC currently has around 100 advertising complaints that are still pending for investigation. The Council has earlier petitioned the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate to draw out a new type of administrative punishments for such complaints, which include issue over illegal font size and usage.
Another change that Seeley is aiming for is reducing “very centralized decision-making” and granting greater autonomy to department heads, along with a shift from a one-year funding forecast to a three-year budget process (which is standard practice in government).
Seeley expressed hope that the changes will increase the RECBC’s public status as “an accountable, transparent and efficient regulator.”

Neither the RECBC not the Superintendent of Real Estate commented on the proposed overhauls.

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