BC gets serious about cracking down on assignment clauses

by Justin da Rosa24 Feb 2016
After a report surfaced about the prevalence of assignment clauses in British Columbia’s housing market, the province’s real estate board has stepped in and promised action.

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has announced an advocacy group that will be tasked with examining licensee misconduct.

“I believe we have a highly qualified team with the expertise to undertake this important work. These are independent thinkers from across a broad range of public and private organizations, with a clear understanding of good governance and the public interest,” Carolyn Rogers, Superintendent of Real Estate and CEO of the Financial Institutions Commission, said. “As Chair of the Advisory Group, I want to assure the public that we understand their concerns and we’re determined to provide a report that puts consumer protection first.”

The advisory group will consist of the following seven members.
  • Howard Kushner, Barrister and Solicitor, Kushner Law Group
  • Don Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer, Central 1 Credit Union
  • Audrey T. Ho, Commissioner, British Columbia Securities Commission
  • Bruce D. Woolley Q.C., Stikeman Elliott
  • Carol Geurts, Associate Broker, Century 21 Veitch Realty, Creston, BC
  • Tony Gioventu, Executive Director, Condominium Home Owners’ Association of BC
  • Ron Usher, General Counsel, Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia
“The Advisory Group members that Ms. Rogers has appointed represent a wealth of experience, knowledge, and diversity of perspectives that will be invaluable in addressing the range of issues and concerns that have been brought to the forefront in recent weeks,” Marylou Leslie, Chair of the Real Estate Council of BC, said. “I would like to thank each of them for agreeing to take part.”

British Columbia’s premier, Christy Clark, recently vowed to step in and curb contract assignments if the Real Estate Council of B.C. fails to do something about it first.

“If they don’t fix it, we’re going to fix it for them. And we’ll do it in short order because what is happening in the housing market in the Lower Mainland, and in a lot of communities, it’s crazy. And that is fuelling part of the problem.”

Clark’s comments came on the heels of a Globe and Mail investigation into the controversial practice of contract assignments some agents are using to earn extra income.

Assignment clauses allow buyers to transfer his or her interest in a property to a third party prior to the closing date. In some cases – including one profiled in the Globe investigation – the property is transferred to the buyer’s agent who then re-lists the home at a higher price.

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