VII. Brokerage Office Business Practices
Brokerage Name And Address Changes
If a brokerage changes its name or business address, the brokerage licence must be changed. To change the brokerage’s name or address, the following procedures must be completed:
- Obtain approval from the Council regarding the intended name change prior to registering the name change with the B.C. Corporate Registry. If using a trade or franchise name, it must also be registered with the BC Corporate Registry prior to the Council’s records being amended. In order to assist applicants, the Council requests that applicants complete and submit the Request for Brokerage Name Approval, available on the website at www.recbc.ca;
- Submit a Request for Brokerage Name Change form, accompanied by the appropriate fee;
- Return the existing brokerage licence certificates to be amended. All licensed offices of the brokerage must have their licences amended in the case of a name change. Certificates of related licensees are not required to be amended;
- In the case of an address change, submit a copy of the city or municipal business licence;
- In the case of an address change, submit a Request for Brokerage Address Change form and provide written confirmation that the business address is in a commercial location. Alternatively, if the brokerage is moving to a residential office, the applicant must provide evidence satisfactory to the Council:
- That the local government bylaws applicable to the residence permit the brokerage to conduct business from the residence; and
- Of any restrictions established by local government bylaw limiting the persons who may conduct business from the brokerage office.
The Council permits both corporations and individuals to do business under a name other than their legal name. Brokerages are reminded that the Council must approve both the legal name and trade name of the brokerage and the names must be registered with the B.C. Corporate Registry. The licence certificates will reflect both the legal name and the trade name.
Once a trade name has been approved by the Council and registered with the BC Corporate Registry, that trade name becomes the licensee name of the brokerage for the purposes of RESA. The legal name and the trade name of the brokerage are both shown on the brokerage’s licence certificate, however the Rules require that the brokerage’s licensee name (the trade name) be clearly indicated in the course of providing real estate services (section 4-5) and be displayed in a prominent and easily readable way in all advertising published by any of its related licensees (section 4-6).
It should also be noted that section 27 of the Business Corporations Act contains certain requirements regarding the use of a company’s legal name. Brokerages should seek legal advice as to the how these obligations are to be incorporated into their business activities.
If, after licensing, a brokerage decided to use a trade name rather than the legal name under which it was licensed, the trade name would have to be approved by the Council and registered with the BC Corporate Registry. The real estate licence of the brokerage and any branch offices would then have to be amended.
If, after licensing, a brokerage intends to operate under a franchise arrangement, the licence must be amended before operating under a franchise name.
Brokerages associated under a franchise agreement may all share a common part of their names (i.e. that part which identifies them as franchisees). However, franchisee brokerages must be readily identifiable by their full name or trade name.
The franchise name must be approved by the Council and registered with the BC Corporate Registry. The Council may require a copy of the licensing agreement or “consent for use of name” from the franchisor.If a brokerage entered into a franchise agreement after the brokerage licence was issued, the brokerage’s licences would then have to be amended to reflect the change in name.
See the Real Estate Licensing Guidelines for additional information.