TREB takes stand against falsified sold data

by Neil Sharma13 Sep 2018

In light of some sales representatives posting inaccurate sold prices online, the Toronto Real Estate Board issued a stern warning, threatening disciplinary proceedings and even membership suspension and termination.

“The Toronto Real Estate Board updates and advises its members on rules and best practices on an ongoing basis as it relates to the business of real estate, including the realtor’s responsibility to inputting sold prices into TREB's MLS System, inaccurate reporting is contrary to TREB's MLS Rules & Policies,” TREB’s CEO John DiMichele said in a statement.

“TREB remains committed to protecting the quality of the MLS System, and a member’s failure to comply with any of TREB's MLS Rules & Policies may lead to professional conduct disciplinary proceedings and/or suspension or termination of TREB membership.”

Last month, Canada’s largest real estate board lost its right to keep sold data private, but it is nevertheless complying with the ruling after the Superior Court of Canada refused to hear its appeal.

The Canadian Press reported that a $3.1mln listing in Scarborough was reported as selling for $1.The sales representative reportedly obliged their client’s wishes to protect their privacy.

However, sales representatives REP spoke to think TREB rules shouldn’t be circumvented, even at clients’ requests.

“We need to be held accountable,” said Brett Starke of the Starke Realty Team. “We’re in the business of trust, and people trust us to buy or sell the most expensive things they’ve ever bought. The foundation is trust, and if that foundation is broken, then it opens the door to people feeling uncomfortable and distrusting us in the future. I think TREB needs to come down hard on people posting fake sold prices.”

Christine Cowern, a sales rep and team lead at Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty, says posting false information cannot be justified, moreover adding that it isn’t in anybody’s best interest.

“I can understand why real estate professionals, for privacy reasons, want to post incorrect sold prices at the request of their clients, but it’s 100% against TREB regulations,” she said. “They should never have been doing that in the first place, and they should be instructing their clients accordingly that it’s against TREB regulations.”

Real estate professionals sometimes make headlines for all the wrong reasons, and Starke says contravening TREB’s ethical guidelines further prejudices the profession.

“When stuff like this comes out, it really reinforces that kind of prejudice,” said Starke. “If people are seeing this behaviour, it backs up some unflattering opinions they may already have, and it looks bad on all of us. If one person puts up a fake sold price, it affects us as well because we always end up getting grouped together.”

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