II. General Information
Exemptions From Licensing
The Real Estate Services Regulation contains various exemptions from the requirement to obtain a licence before providing real estate services. Exemptions exist in relation to the general need for licensing under the Act, and in relation to specific activities.
(a) General Exemptions
A general exemption exists for all employees who provide real estate services on behalf of their principal, as long as the person does not provide real estate services on behalf of any other principal. In addition, a general exemption exists for those who may provide real estate services in the course of their business as a collection agent. General exemptions also exist for those who may provide real estate services in relation to mines and various resource development properties. The government and government corporations are generally exempt from the need for licensing under RESA.
(b) Exemptions Relating to Trading Services
The Real Estate Services Regulation also contain exemptions from the need for licensing for the provision of trading services in certain circumstances.
Employees of developers may provide trading services on behalf of a developer without the need for licensing under specific circumstances. The trading services must be provided in relation to the marketing of a development unit as defined in the Real Estate Development Marketing Act. A development unit includes a subdivision lot, strata lot, cooperative interest, time share interest, shared interest in land, or a leasehold unit. The trading services must be provided on behalf of the developer or developers of the development unit and the individual must be an employee of the developer or developers or an employee of a holding company of one or more of the developers. The individual may not provide trading services on behalf of anyone other than the developer, the holding company, or another developer that is a subsidiary of the holding company. The individual must disclose to every potential buyer other than the developer, that the individual is not licensed under RESA, who the individual is employed by, and on whose behalf the individual is acting.
Notaries are exempt from the need for licensing in relation to providing trading services as long as the services are provided in the course of and as part of the provision of services permitted under the Notaries Act. Similarly, a practising lawyer, as defined in the Legal Profession Act, is exempt from licensing in respect of real estate services provided in the course of the person’s practice.
Section 3(3)of RESA also provides exemptions for:
- a person acting under the authority of a court;
- a trustee in bankruptcy, custodian, receiver, receiver-manager, or liquidator who is appointed under a provincial or federal enactment, in respect of real estate services undertaken by the person in that capacity;
- an executor or administrator of an estate, in respect of real estate services provided in relation to real estate owned or held by the estate;
- a trustee, in respect of real estate services provided under the terms of a will, marriage settlement, or deed of trust; and
- a financial institution that has a trust business authorization under the Financial Institutions Act, in respect of real estate services provided in relation to real estate that it owns, holds, or administers.
An accountant who is qualified to practise public accounting as a CA, CGA, or CMA, and who provides trading services in relation to the purchase and sale of a business, is exempt from the need for licensing as long as both the purchase, sale, and the trading services arise in the course of the practice of public accounting.
Appraisers and property inspectors who provide trading services are exempt from the need for licensing if the appraisal or inspection is provided in the course of the person’s business.
A limited exemption exists that permits auctioneers to provide trading services. An auctioneer is not, however, permitted to show the property, provide information relating to the property to a party to the trade, or receive deposits.
A person who provides trading services by providing information is exempt from the need for licensing. As a result of this exemption, a person may provide owners with general information to assist owners to sell their own real estate.
An exemption exists for persons who provide referral services, as long as the person does not engage in any activities to solicit the names of persons who may be interested in acquiring or disposing of real estate, and the practice of making referrals is incidental to the person’s main business.
Individuals who provide trading services to an expropriating authority are exempted from the need for licensing.
(c) Exemptions Relating to Rental Property Management
The Real Estate Services Regulation provides an exemption for caretakers from the need to obtain a rental property management licence in limited circumstances.
As noted above, a general exemption from licensing includes all employees of principals; however, that exemption is limited to providing services to only one principal. The caretaker exemption permits an exemption for caretakers who are employed by owners of different residential real estate. A caretaker is exempt from the requirements to be licensed if the caretaker is an employee of each of the owners, the owners have agreed among themselves that the caretaker may provide rental property management services, and the individual is not providing rental property management services on behalf of any other person than the owners. The caretaker, in order to remain exempted, must promptly deliver any money collected in relation to the rental of the real estate, including rent or security deposits to the owner of the rental real estate property in relation to which the money was paid. Thus, an individual who is exempted under the section may be employed by a number of owners to act as a rental property manager, and is permitted to carry out all the activities of a rental property manager, except that when an exempted individual receives money in the form of rent, security deposits, or pet damage deposits, the individual must deliver the money to the owner(s).
An exemption exists for caretakers who are employed by brokerages. An individual who is employed as a caretaker or manager by a brokerage is exempt from the need for licensing if the caretaker or manager does not negotiate or enter into contracts on behalf of the brokerage or the owner of the rental real estate, and if the caretaker or manager promptly delivers any money, such as rent, security deposits, or pet damage deposits to the brokerage. As long as these conditions are met, the caretaker or manager may show the rental property to prospective tenants, may receive and present applications in respect of the rental of the rental real estate, and may communicate between landlords and tenants respecting landlord and tenant matters.
An exemption from the need for licensing in relation to rental property management also exists for the British Columbia Housing Management Commission.
(d) Exemptions Relating to Strata Management
An individual is exempt from the requirements to obtain a licence for strata management if the individual provides strata management services on behalf of the strata corporation of which he or she is an owner, as long as the individual provides such services to no more than two strata corporations. An individual who is exempted under this section must promptly deliver any strata fees, special levies or any other amounts promptly to the strata corporation. An individual who is employed as a caretaker or manager by the strata corporation, or by a brokerage that provides strata management services is exempt from the requirements to be licensed in respect of collecting strata fees, special levies or other amounts levied by the strata corporation, as long as the exempt caretaker or manager promptly delivers the money to the strata corporation or brokerage.
In addition, the owner/developer is exempt from the requirements to be licensed as a strata manager in respect of the strata management services that it provides on behalf of the strata corporation until the control of the strata corporation’s money is required to be transferred to the strata corporation. Under the Strata Property Act, the strata corporation’s money must be transferred to the strata corporation within one week after the first annual general meeting.