II. General Information
(a) Applications for Licensing
Licensing is regulated by RESA, the Real Estate Services Regulation, Rules and Bylaws. RESA establishes the requirement of licensing, the qualifications for licensing, and the different levels and categories of licensing. RESA establishes the Real Estate Council as the licensing authority. The Regulations set out the exemptions from licensing. The Bylaws set out the process and information required in applications for licences or the reinstatement of licences. The Rules contain the qualification requirements for licensing.
All forms and information regarding applications for licensing can be found on the Council’s website at www.recbc.ca.
RESA creates the following four levels of licensing:
- Brokerage — a licensee which must engage other licensees, including a managing broker.
- Managing broker — a licensee responsible for a brokerage.
- Associate broker — a licensee who meets the qualifications of a managing broker, but who provides real estate services under the supervision of a managing broker.
- Representative — a licensee providing real estate services under the supervision of a managing broker. An individual may obtain any level of licence.
Section 2-1 of the Rules sets out the following categories of licence:
- Trading services;
- Rental property management services; and
- Strata management services.
Licensees may be licensed in a single category or in any combination of categories. The licensing categories apply to each level of licensing. A licensee may, therefore, be licensed as a managing broker in relation to trading services, rental property management, strata management services, or any combination of categories.
RESA sets out the qualifications that an applicant for licensing must meet, which include satisfying the educational and experience requirements established by the Rules. In addition, RESA provides that all applicants must be determined to be fit to be licensed. An applicant’s fitness for licensing considers whether the applicant has been refused a real estate, insurance, mortgage broker, or securities licence in any jurisdiction; whether the applicant had a real estate, insurance, mortgage broker, or securities licence suspended or cancelled in any jurisdiction, or whether the applicant has been convicted of an offence.
Individuals who have some concern about whether or not they will be found to be fit for licensing may wish to obtain a decision from the Council in advance of registering for the pre-licensing course.
Section 2-8 of the Rules sets out the educational requirements for new licensees. Section 2-10 sets out the experience requirements for applicants for a managing broker’s or associate broker’s licence, and section 2-11 sets out the financial qualifications for applicants for a brokerage licence. Under section 2-11, an applicant for a brokerage licence must satisfy the Council that the applicant is in sound financial circumstances. The Council has established the following guidelines with respect to the meaning of ‘‘sound financial circumstances’’. An applicant for a brokerage licence is considered not to be in sound financial circumstances if the applicant:
- is an undischarged bankrupt;
- has outstanding judgments; and
- is in arrears on several trade accounts.
In all cases, where the Council intends to refuse a licence, the Council must give notice to the applicant and provide the applicant with an opportunity to be heard respecting the matter. If the Council decides to refuse to issue the licence, the applicant can appeal the refusal to the Financial Services Tribunal.
(b) Personal Real Estate Corporation (PREC)
Individual real estate licensees are permitted to form a PREC. A PREC allows a licensee to take advantage of incorporation, which may permit better planning of income and tax streams. Detailed information about PRECs can be found at this link.
(c) Licence Renewals
Generally, licences are issued for a two-year period. RESA permits the Council to issue temporary licences that may be of a shorter duration. Before the end of the licensing period, the licensee must apply for a renewal of their licence. RESA provides that if the application for renewal is made before the end of the licence term, the licence continues in effect until the Council notifies the licensee of its decision with respect to the renewal application.
If a licensing period ends before a licensee submits an application for renewal, the licensee is no longer licensed and must cease carrying out any activity for which a licence is required until the Council issues a licence.
In the past, the period of time that a licensee could remain unlicensed and subsequently obtain a licence without being required to requalify was dependent on the length of time that the licensee had been licensed. Section 2-9 of the Rules requires that a licensee whose licence was suspended, inoperative, or surrendered within the first five years of continuous licensing must retake the pre-licensing examination and the applied course before a licence will be reinstated. The Rules contain limited exceptions to this requirement if the licensee had ceased to be licensed for less than 30 days, was on parental leave approved by the Council, or had been registered under the Mortgage Brokers Act.
(d) Other Licensing Applications
Information relating to licence transfers, change of licence level, reinstatements, and licence amendments is available on the Council’s website at www.recbc.ca.