The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) might be getting a makeover that will raise professional standards and promote entrepreneurship.
Earlier this week at the Ontario Realtor Party Conference, where Premier Doug Ford delivered a keynote speech in front of representatives from all four of the province’s political parties, REBBA reform was a hot topic. According to the Ontario Real Estate Association’s CEO Tim Hudak—himself the former leader of Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario—consumers would be best served by enhanced professional standards.
“When you’re making the biggest purchase or sale of your life—your home—we want to make sure you have a realtor by your side following the most demanding professional standards and with the highest level of education in North America,” said Hudak. “That also means strict discipline if somebody breaks the rules, and we want the most modern real estate tools, including personal real estate corporations.”
The latter exists in other provinces, and Hudak added that it’s high time for a level playing field so that Ontario’s real estate sales representatives can nurture their entrepreneurial aspirations. Bob Bailey, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing Sarnia-Lambton, has already tabled a private member’s bill to permit personal real estate corporations.
“The main reason this is important is realtors in six other provinces can incorporate themselves and reinvest those tax savings in their businesses,” he said. “They invest in new technology, they hire other people, and it also helps smooth out fluctuations that often happen in real estate markets—one year can be great for you while the next one is a bust—so this is a tool that helps other business professionals deal with the ups and downs of the market.”
Another key proposed reform is augmenting the standards for licensing and continuing education, like practical training, use of standard forms and business practices. Hudak says that real life experience will help along neophyte sales reps with fewer bumps in the road.
“Another suggestion is a genuine articling phase that other professionals like architects, accountants and lawyers have so that you train under a veteran realtor to learn the ropes before selling a property on your own,” he said.
“We want to see a greater emphasis on ethics, too. When it comes to continuing education, a program we envision is a much more demanding exam than the current one with greater security provisions to make sure it’s actually the registrant taking the test.”
Speaking at the Ontario Realtor Party Conference, Premier Ford also explained that the reason his government is repealing the Green Energy Act is because of home energy audits during time of sale.
“It’s these kinds of expenses that hit seniors and low-income families the hardest,” said Ford. “For years, it’s been too hard for families to find a nice, affordable place to live. It’s too difficult and expensive to find a home in too many places across Ontario.”