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Brokerage Standards Manual

VI. Managing Broker Duties

Supervision

The managing broker is responsible for the supervision of all licensees who are licensed in relation to the brokerage. Section 3-1 of the Rules requires that the managing broker be actively engaged in the management of the related brokerage and ensure that there is an adequate level of supervision for all licensees, employees and others in the brokerage.

In a well-managed office, where the activities of licensees and other employees are adequately supervised, the Council would expect that:

  • The managing broker ensures that the brokerage, and all its licensees are currently and properly licensed. A managing broker, who allows unlicensed individuals to perform activities that require licensing, is subject to disciplinary action by the Council. For more information, see Licensing: The First Step in Supervision.
  • Training/professional development assistance/guidance is provided for licensees, employees and others in the brokerage. For more information, see Education and Training.
  • The managing broker is able and available to assist and advise licensees and other employees as they encounter problems in their day-to-day activities. When the managing broker is not at the office, the managing broker should be “connected” to the office by other electronic means.  For more information, see Supervision 101: Stay in Touch, and Deciding to Delegate.
  • The managing broker follows up on the activities of licensees who are absent for prolonged periods from the office.
  • Although the managing broker is not expected to review all advertisements, the managing broker ensures that licensees are made aware of sections 4-64-7 and 4-8 of the Rules, which relate to advertising, as well as advertising guidelines and policies established by the Council. The managing broker should periodically discuss examples of appropriate and inappropriate advertising with licensees.
  • A brokerage procedures manual has been read and acknowledged by its licensees clearly disclosing to them the rules and office policies of the brokerage. For more information see Managing Unlicensed Activities with the Brokerage.
  • There is a means of communicating (e.g.: office meetings, memorandums, etc.) with licensees respecting policy matters or changes in the law. It is recommended that the brokerage keep copies of any written communications on file.
  • The managing broker ensures that licensees are aware of and comply with the Rules, including the application of RESA to the provision of all real estate services by a licensee, and the requirements for disclosure, including the need to provide certain disclosures in writing. 
  • The managing broker ensures that written service agreements include a general description of services and that the services are in accordance with the policies of the brokerage. For more information, see Reviewing Licensee's Practices: Written Service Agreements.
  • Where a brokerage engages licensees who conduct business outside of the brokerage’s usual market area, the managing broker ensures the following procedures are in place.
  • Listing, buyer agency, rental property and strata management contracts, amendments thereto, and Contracts of Purchase and Sale are, as soon as possible after their execution, faxed, couriered, delivered or e-mailed to the brokerage’s office in order that the managing broker can review the documentation, and that a legible true copy is maintained on file in the office.

In order for funds received on behalf of clients (e.g., trust deposits, rental funds, security deposits, etc.) to be deposited into trust upon receipt, arrangements must be made for licensees to deliver these funds immediately to the brokerage.

 

 

(a) Supervision Depending on the Nature of the Service Relationship

A managing broker must always be aware of the nature of the relationship the brokerage and its related licensees have with the consumers to whom real estate services are being provided because these relationships carry with them varying responsibilities for the brokerage and its related licensees.  The relationship may be established in a written service agreement, for example through a listing contract or a buyer’s agency contract, it may be established verbally through disclosure and consent, or it may be implied through the actions of the parties. The Council recommends that any service relationship be committed to writing so as to avoid possible confusion or uncertainty.

One of the keys to providing appropriate supervision is to help licensees understand the different duties and obligations that arise in various possible relationships.

Click here to view a table showing the differences in duties depending on the nature of the relationship.

 

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(b) Supervision under Designated Agency

In designated agency, the brokerage and its clients agree that one or more licensees engaged by the brokerage will be designated to act as sole agents on behalf of each client. In this agency model, it is the designated agents who have the primary agency duties of undivided loyalty, obedience, and confidentiality to their client (see section 3-3 of the Rules). When compared to brokerage agency where all licensees engaged by a brokerage assume the agency obligations of the brokerage in relation to each of its clients, designated agency allows for clients to continue receiving full representation in in-house transactions where different designated agents separately represent their respective clients. Under brokerage agency, this transaction typically becomes one where the brokerage and its related licensees become limited dual agents, with the consent of the clients, and the clients’ interests are treated impartially.

In designated agency the brokerage’s responsibilities are to:

  1. supervise the designated agents to ensure they fulfill their duties to their clients
  2. not disclose any confidential information concerning any of the clients to any person unless authorized by the client, or required by law,
  3. treat the interests of the clients in an even handed, objective and impartial manner, and
  4. establish the information barriers necessary with respect to keeping client information confidential – see ‘Protection of Client Information under Designated Agency’ below.

It is the responsibility of the managing broker to ensure the brokerage remains neutral throughout any transactions where two or more clients have competing interests. The managing broker needs to provide even-handed supervision of the designated agents. This applies to transactions where designated agents engaged by the brokerage represent:

  1. a seller and a buyer negotiating in relation to the same trade in real estate,
  2. two or more buyers interested in purchasing the same property. or
  3. two or more sellers offering their property for sale

If a designated agent engaged by the brokerage asks the managing broker for assistance with respect to a specific Contract of Purchase and Sale, it would be advisable for the managing broker to review the contract and go through a set of standard questions. A brokerage may develop a "due diligence" checklist and provide it to all licensees engaged by the brokerage to guide them when representing sellers or buyers. The managing broker could refer to this checklist and ask the appropriate questions to ensure the designated agent has addressed all the issues that need to be addressed. In addition, the managing broker may direct the designated agent(s) to reference information such as the Professional Standards Manual, the Brokerage Standards Manual, the brokerage’s own policy and procedures manual, or any checklists the brokerage may have for writing offers or counter offers.

The managing broker may also provide information or advice on issues of mutual interest to both clients. For example, upon reviewing the Contract of Purchase and Sale, the managing broker may notice it does not address the issue of financing when it is clear the buyer will need to obtain a mortgage to complete the transaction. The managing broker can draw this deficiency to the attention of the designated agent representing the buyer and provide advice that a condition related to financing be included in the contract. The managing broker must disclose the fact such advice was provided to the designated agent representing the seller. The managing broker must not provide confidential advice to either designated agent because that would undermine the impartiality of the brokerage’s role.

Without giving advice to either designated agent, the managing broker can also give general information and provide alternatives to address issues that have been brought to their attention. For example, the managing broker can explain to a designated agent the difference between a term and condition in the contract.

A  managing broker may be given a set of facts related to a specific transaction and be asked whether a particular clause drafted by the designated agent properly addresses the issue they are trying to address in the Contract of Purchase and Sale. Again, the managing broker can assist with the drafting of a clause in the Contract of Purchase and Sale to achieve the desired intent but they cannot advocate on behalf of either party. Ultimately, the designated agents must represent their respective clients, advocate on their behalf, and assist the clients in resolving any issues that arise during the negotiating process.

 

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(c) Supervision under Designated Agency when a Managing Broker is also Acting as a Designated Agent

If a managing broker represents one of the parties in an in-house transaction, he or she will not be able to fulfill their role as managing broker for that transaction or carry out their supervisory role for the licensee who is the designated agent for the other party. Managing brokers should consider carefully how they will address these potential conflicts between their duties as a designated agent and their responsibility to be in active charge of the business of the brokerage. Where the managing broker intends to represent one of the parties in an in-house transaction, another member of the brokerage would have to assume the managing broker’s supervisory responsibilities in order to ensure the brokerage fulfills its responsibilities and to ensure the managing broker and other designated agent involved in the transaction fulfill their responsibilities as designated agents for their respective clients. The most likely candidate for this temporary delegation of managing broker responsibilities would be another managing broker, or an experienced associate broker or representative, engaged by the same brokerage. As with other duties which are from time to time delegated by a managing broker, the managing broker remains responsible for the actions of the brokerage and its licensees. See Delegation.

 

 

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(d) Supervision under Brokerage Agency

Under the historical model of real estate agency, when a brokerage entered into a service relationship with a consumer where the brokerage was appointed as that client’s agent, all licensees engaged by the brokerage assumed the agency obligations of the brokerage in relation to that client. This type of representation is referred to in this material as ‘brokerage agency’. If, throughout the course of providing services to that client, the brokerage does not represent any other client in relation to the same services, it is referred to as ‘sole agency’ and the role of the managing broker and the brokerage is fairly straightforward. There are no conflicts of interest between competing clients so the brokerage and the managing broker are able to fulfill the duties and obligations to that client as described in section 3-3 of the Rules. Because there is no distinction of who is responsible for which of these duties, as there is in designated agency, the managing broker is able to take a much more direct role, where considered necessary, in the relationship with the client. This includes being able to offer more direct advice in order to advance the interests of the client.

 

 

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(e) Supervision under Limited Dual Agency

An important distinction between limited dual agency that arises in brokerage agency as compared to limited dual agency that arises in designated agency is that under brokerage agency dual agency occurs in "in-house" transactions involving more than one licensee. This typically does not occur under designated agency because each client has previously agreed with the brokerage appointing a different licensee to represent them (see Supervision Under Designated Agency). Therefore, limited dual agency in designated agency occurs only when the same licensee or licensees have been designated as the designated agent to represent two different clients who have conflicting interests; e.g. who become interested in negotiating with respect to the same real estate.

Under brokerage agency, when the brokerage is acting as a limited dual agent, the brokerage and these competing clients have agreed that the duties and obligations of the brokerage and its related licensees are to be limited. The most significant limitation is that the brokerage and its related licensees will act impartially, not favouring the interests of one client over those of the other. This means that the brokerage and the managing broker should not be advising either client, or the licensees who are working directly with them, in any way which is not impartial. Advice should never be given to just one of the clients. Managing brokers should be reminding their licensees of the obligation of impartiality in all limited dual agency situations.

The role of the brokerage and the managing broker is the same in limited dual agency, however, regardless of whether the brokerage practices brokerage agency or designated agency. The key is for the brokerage and the managing broker to remain impartial in all limited dual agency relationships.

 

 

 

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(f) Supervision when a Consumer is Being Treated as a Customer

Usually when a consumer is being treated as a customer, the licensee involved in the transaction is already acting as agent for the other person in the transaction. For example, the brokerage may have entered into a listing agreement with a seller and wishes to treat a buyer who becomes interested in the listing as a customer.

When dealing with a customer, the licensee involved in the transaction, along with the managing broker, must act honestly and with reasonable care and skill. In order to maintain the customer relationship, licensees must be careful not to advise the customer in any way which might create an ‘implied’ agency relationship. For example, providing general market information or explaining real estate terms and practices is quite acceptable when treating a consumer as a customer, whereas advising on an appropriate price to offer might well create an implied agency relationship. The Working with a Realtor® brochure (developed by the British Columbia Real Estate Association), under the heading "When there is no agency relationship", provides examples what a licensee can and cannot do when working with a customer.

The duties and obligations in this type of relationship are also detailed in the Professional Standards Manual.

 

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(g) Continuing Education

classroom-croppedManaging brokers are expected to facilitate and encourage training, professional development, and provide assistance and guidance for licensees, employees and others in the brokerage. In the case of strata management licensees, their professional development needs are highly specialized.

It is important for strata management licensees to continuously educate themselves about the changes taking place legislatively and in the courts that are relevant to the services they can provide to their clients. For example, strata management licensees need to become knowledgeable about the Strata Property Act, the Personal Information Protection Act, the Limitation Act, the Interpretation Act, and the Residential Tenancy Act, in addition to the Real Estate Services Act. They also need to keep up-to-date with case law that may affect their clients’ governance of strata corporations.

Practice Tip: Continuing education helps keep your knowledge up-to date and your skills sharp. Recommend that licensees attend further education courses and seminars offered by the Council or by legal firms, strata owner associations, professional associations, or colleges—and don’t forget to go yourself!

Managing brokers should ensure that their expertise and education is at least as good as, if not better than, the licensees they are responsible for. As a managing broker, you’re expected to assist, advise and direct licensees, so make sure you’ve got the current information you need.

In the spring of 2013 and again in 2014, the Council offered training seminars throughout the province to assist licensees in understanding the requirements of the Real Estate Services Act and the Rules when managing strata corporations with sections. A video archive of these presentations is available on the Council’s website.

Find the videos online at www.recbc.ca/2014/09/strata-sections-seminar-video-costs-conflicts-and-cancelling.

REP Requirements

For managing brokers, keeping licensees’ training records up-to-date will help to ensure that all licensees meet their Relicensing Education Program (REP) requirements prior to applying to renew their licence. It also ensures that the licensees are knowledgeable of the latest legislative requirements and business practices and policies.

Practice Tip: Keep track of licensees’ continuing education courses using a simple spreadsheet like the one below. Be sure to include all the licensees you manage, along with their licence category and training history. You’ll be able to easily identify any training gaps or REP courses a licensee needs to complete in order to relicense.

A simple spreadsheet such as this will help keep track of licensees’ continuing education courses:

Licensee
Name
Licence
Expiry Date
Category
of Licence
Level of
Licence
Training
Courses
Completed
REP Courses
Completed
John June 16, 2015 Strata & Rental Representative CHOA (Spring 2014) Completed: Legal Update for Strata Managers
Franca March 3, 2016 Strata Associate Broker

CHOA (Spring 2014)

Hasn’t yet completed REP requirement
Philippe Dec 13, 2015 Strata Representative CHOA (Spring 2014) Completed: Legal Update for Strata Managers

Tariq

Feb 28, 2015 Strata Representative CHOA (Spring 2014)
CHOA (Fall 2013)
Completed: Legal Update for Strata Managers
Judy Oct 27, 2014 Strata, Rental & Trading Managing Broker CHOA (Spring 2014) No REP course required

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