HIGHLIGHTS OF 2014/15
Our Year in Numbers
COMPLAINTS & DISCIPLINE
In 2014/15, the Council received 536 complaints. Seventy-eight were claims to the Special Compensation Fund. Seventy-three of these were in relation to matters arising from the emergency suspension of one brokerage licence, and these 73 claims were resolved by the Council without requiring payout from the Special Compensation Fund.
Over the year, the issues most frequently raised in complaints were misrepresentation, conflicts of interest, and agency. In 2014/15:
- 65% of complaints were received from the public.
- 23% of investigations were initiated by the Council as a result of office audits and inspections.
- 8% of complaints were received from licensees.
- 4% were received from Real Estate Boards, the Superintendent of Real Estate, etc.
EDUCATION & LICENSING
In January 2015, following an extensive education review and redesign process, a new Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course was introduced by the Council’s post-licensing education provider, the British Columbia Real Estate Association. The new course focuses on practical applications of the regulatory requirements and teaches learners how to incorporate the requirements into their daily practice, by exploring the “how,” the “why,” and the “tools” for compliance. A Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course was launched in March, 2015.
- 1,791 licensees enrolled in an Applied Practice Course during 2014/15.
- 719 of those licensees enrolled in the redesigned Applied Practice Course launched in January 2015.
In January, a revised Strata Management Licensing Course was introduced by the Real Estate Division of the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. The revised course includes an increased focus on public protection and professional readiness, and incorporates new components to help students apply their knowledge in practice.
- 156 students enrolled in the Strata Management Licensing Course in 2014/15.
COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH
In the fall of 2014, the Council hosted continuing education seminars for strata management licensees, in four locations across the province. The seminars, Active Charge of Strata Management Brokerages and Cutting Down on Common Complaints, were highly rated by participants in follow-up evaluations:
- 70% found the overall quality excellent.
- 90% agreed the information learned was useful to them in their jobs.
Marking five years of licensing personal real estate corporations, in 2014 the Council released “A Guide to Personal Real Estate Corporations,” an informative online guide detailing the steps to licensing and exploring advertising issues, teams, remuneration, and rules governing investments for personal real estate corporations.
- 3,557 site users accessed the guide in 2014/15.
In April 2015, the Council commissioned a survey of 700 recent real estate consumers to explore their levels of satisfaction with the services provided by real estate licensees, their level of knowledge and confidence about real estate transactions, and their awareness of the consumer protections available to them.
- 93% of respondents are aware that a licence is required to provide real estate services.
- 40% of respondents felt they spent adequate time researching before selecting a real estate licensee.
- 30% of respondents were able to name key organizations to contact with a complaint about a real estate licensee.
The results of the survey will provide important benchmarks for the Council in years ahead, as we work to increase consumer awareness of our role, our services, and our activities.
LEGISLATIVE & REGULATORY CHANGES
A number of legislative amendments to RESA were passed in the provincial legislature in March 2015. Among the changes are new requirements relating to the handling of trust monies by brokerages and licensees, as well as a new section authorizing the Council to appoint an unlicensed individual to the Council to represent strata property owners. In the year ahead, the Council will make changes to its Rules and General Bylaws to reflect these legislative changes, which include the following:
- Adding the requirement that licensees and brokerages must pay an expanded range of referral fees into brokerage trust accounts.
- Adding subsections to clarify that licensees and brokerages may receive cheques, drafts, or money orders (not cash) payable to third parties without paying them into brokerage trust accounts so long as they immediately deliver those instruments to the payee.
- Changing the deadline for a licensee to submit a proposal for a consent order to 21 days before a hearing.
- Changes to how the 2-year period for making a claim of compensable loss is calculated, to include that the period may be triggered by an emergency suspension or public notice.
- The maximum amount of compensable loss may be triggered by the publication of an emergency suspension order of the related brokerage.