The Real Estate Council of British Columbia protects the public interest by assuring the competency of real estate licensees in B.C. and ensuring their compliance with the Real Estate Services Act. We encourage public confidence by impartially setting and enforcing standards of conduct, education, competency and licensing for real estate licensees in the province. The Council is accountable to and advises government on industry issues.
Vision: A self-regulated organization that is a leader in industry integrity, innovation and viability.
The Council operates with the following principles and values:
Experience and Dedication
Council members are experienced real estate licensees and public appointees, dedicated to protecting the public interest in real estate services and to improving the industry.
Council supports a regular consultative approach with government, the public and industry groups.
Impartial, Effective Processes
Council members and staff are impartial in setting and enforcing standards of conduct through effective education, licensing, and compliance processes.
Cost-effective & Responsive Services
Council management and staff work to provide cost-effective, responsive services to consumers and the real estate industry by using current professional business practices and technology.
Open Communications & Trust
Council members and staff work cooperatively to create a working environment where frank and open communications and trust prevail.
The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is a regulatory agency established by the provincial government in 1958. Its mandate is to protect the public interest by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act. The Council is responsible for licensing individuals and brokerages engaged in real estate sales, rental and strata property management. The Council also enforces entry qualifications, investigates complaints against licensees and imposes disciplinary sanctions under the Act.
The Council is responsible for ensuring that the interests of consumers who use the services of real estate licensees are adequately protected against wrongful actions by the licensees. A wrongful action may be deliberate or may be the consequence of inadequate exercise of reasonable judgment by a licensee in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
The Council is responsible for determining what is appropriate education in real estate matters for individuals seeking to be licensed as real estate practitioners and arranging for licensing courses and examinations as part of the qualification requirement for licensing. Under the authority of the Council, licensing courses are delivered by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business (Real Estate Division).
The effectiveness of the Council and recognition of its mature discharging of its responsibilities is evidenced by the fact that for over 50 years, successive governments have not considered altering the Council’s considerable powers but have, instead, broadened its role and delegated additional responsibilities to the Council.
In 2005, the Real Estate Services Act replaced the former Real Estate Act. The Real Estate Services Act significantly expands the regulatory authority and disciplinary powers of the Real Estate Council.
The Council is responsible for determining the appropriate education for individuals seeking to be licensed as real estate practitioners. The administration of licensing courses is delegated to the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business (Real Estate Division).
In addition to establishing licensing guidelines and reviewing licensing courses, the Council considers education and experience exemption requests from both licensees and prospective licensees.
Relicensing Education Program
The Council’s Relicensing Education Program (REP) requires licensees to complete education requirements during the licensees’ two-year licence period as a condition of continued licensing. Find further information about REP requirements.
The Council regularly provides licensees with industry updates and related information in order that licensees may effectively carry out their duties. The Council accomplishes this through its Professional Standards Manual, Brokerage Standards Manual, electronic News Bulletins and Report from Council newsletters.
The Council has taken on a fairly substantial role in public education through the publication of various brochures, its public web site, and its day-to-day handling of telephone, e-mail, and written inquiries from the public.
The Council is responsible for licensing individuals and brokerages under the Real Estate Services Act. The Council administers a number of processes in connection with the issuance of licences including:
- determining suitability for all licence applicants
- conducting criminal record checks
- conducting credit history checks
- ensuring that each brokerage has a managing broker in place
- ensuring that brokerages maintain a proper place of business.
The Council issues licences in the following categories:
- trading services
- rental property management services
- strata management services.
Office and Records Inspection Program
The Council has been performing office and records inspections since 1967 to ensure that all licensed brokerages in the province have proper controls in place to protect trust monies at all times. The objective of an office and records inspection is to provide constructive feedback to the brokerage by identifying any deficiencies in the office and records as required by the Real Estate Services Act.
Office and records inspections are conducted on the following priority basis:
- as a result of complaints from consumers, licensees or the Superintendent of Real Estate;
- as a result of exceptions on Accountant’s Reports;
- as a result of previous spot audit reports showing deficiencies;
- new brokerages* involved in strata management services or rental property management services followed by those engaged in trading services; and
- new branch offices that handle trust funds*.
*It is the intention of the Council to examine all new brokerages in the province within 12 months of licensing.
Disciplinary and Hearing Processes
The Council is responsible for investigating matters which involve possible contraventions of the Real Estate Services Act, Regulations or Rules.
The Council’s disciplinary procedures may be initiated as a result of:
- a complaint submitted by a consumer, licensee or the Superintendent of Real Estate.
- an investigation conducted under the Council’s own initiative, as, for example, should the Council become aware of a result of a court decision or news report indicating wrongdoing by a licensee.
The Council has the authority to:
- reprimand a licensee;
- suspend the licensee’s licence for a period of time and/or until specified conditions are met;
- cancel the licensee’s licence;
- impose restrictions or conditions on the licensee’s licence, or vary any applicable restrictions or conditions;
- require the licensee to
- cease or carry out any specified activity related to the licensee’s real estate business
- enroll in and complete a course of study or training
- pay for enforcement expenses incurred by the Council
- pay a disciplinary penalty in an amount of not more than $20,000 in the case of a brokerage or former brokerage, or not more than $10,000 in any other case.
The Council may also recover enforcement expenses in accordance with section 44 of the Real Estate Services Act.
The Council does not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate monetary or contract matters which come under the control of the civil courts. Anyone who seeks to deal with monetary or contract matters must pursue a civil remedy through legal proceedings.
Orders in Urgent Circumstances
If the Council determines that a licensee may have acted in a way that could result in a disciplinary order, that the length of time it would take to make such an order would be detrimental to the public interest, and that it is in the public interest to make an order, a discipline committee may suspend a licensee’s licence, impose restrictions or conditions on the licensee’s licence, or require the licensee to cease or to carry out specified activities related to the licensee’s real estate business. The Council has the authority to freeze property if it considers such action to be in the public interest, e.g. where there is evidence that trust funds have been misappropriated.
There are up to 17 members of the Real Estate Council including three public members appointed by the provincial government and one member appointed by the Council as a Strata Owner Representative. Thirteen members are chosen through an election process open to all real estate licensees in the province. The elected members are comprised of three representatives and nine brokers representing the various provincial counties. One individual is elected as the strata/rental property management member. Those elected have traditionally been individuals of broad experience who enjoy the professional respect of their fellow licensees. Members are elected for two-year terms, with half of the Council elected each year, thus ensuring continuity. A Chair and Vice-Chair are elected each year by the members of the Council.
Council Meetings and Decision Process
Council members serve on a number of standing committees and advisory groups. Staff provide research assistance and may make recommendations where appropriate. Once a particular issue has been researched and a solution agreed upon by the committee or advisory group, the matter is brought to the Council as a whole. The Council will discuss the issue and either ratify it, send it back to the committee/advisory group for further investigation or reject it.
Supporting the work of the members of the Council is an experienced professional staff. Based out of its offices in Vancouver, the Council employs 53 full and part-time staff members. Staff functions include administration, licensing and education, audits and inspections, and investigations and disciplinary matters.
The Council has four key areas of focus, and organizational goals within each focus area.
Be accessible to real estate consumers, the industry and government in providing protection to the public in real estate services.
Council Structure and Governance
Enhance consumer confidence and ensure industry integrity by effective and relevant representation on Council and its committees.
Make informed decisions at Council level.
Industry Education and Regulation
Raise the level of relevant competency within the industry at a reasonable cost.
Ensure compliance with the Real Estate Services Act.
Be cost-effective and efficient in internal operations.
Deliver responsive services to consumers and licensees.