by Paolo Taruc
British Columbia’s real estate watchdog has banned the “dual agency” practice in the city’s real estate market, where realtors act on behalf of both the buyer and seller on the same deal.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate said the move seeks to remove any potential for conflict as well as create transparency for both consumers and licensees. “The changes will empower consumers and provide clarity around the role of an agent,” said Micheal Noseworthy, who heads the regulator.
Other new rules to improve consumer protection in real estate were also announced. Among other things, the rules require an enhanced disclosure of real estate licensee remuneration to inform consumers about how remuneration is to be divided between a listing brokerage and cooperating brokerage.
Licensees will also have to inform consumers of the duties and responsibilities owed to both clients and unrepresented parties before working with consumers.
The new rules trace back to recommendations made in the final report of the Independent Advisory Group on Real Estate Regulation in BC in June 2016. According to the watchdog, they conducted extensive consultations with industry, and received feedback from real estate licensees, the public, and the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC).
A consultation on these rules was completed on 6 October this year. The new rules will take effect on 15 March 2018.
In a statement, RECBC said it welcomes the new rules. It is developing materials for consumers to explain how the changes will impact them, and to support consumers to make informed decisions when buying or selling property.
The Superintendent is introducing significant changes to the way that BC’s real estate professionals conduct business,” says Real Estate Council chair Robert Holmes. “Our role is to protect consumers by ensuring that when the Rules come into effect, all real estate licensees understand how to comply with the new requirements, and to get information into the hands of consumers that they can use to make solid choices when working with a licensee.”
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