July 24, 2017, Vancouver BC— With wildfires continuing to threaten people and property in BC’s interior regions, the Council’s thoughts are with the many people who have been forced to leave their homes and businesses. Personal safety, and the safety of family members and friends is clearly the highest priority in such a crisis.
However, property owners and licensed real estate professionals who are affected by the fires have questions, and we want you to know that the Real Estate Council of BC is here to help.
We encourage consumers and licensees to call the Council and speak with our Professional Standards Advisors if they have concerns or questions about issues that arise due to the fire situation. Questions like:
Managing brokers in evacuated areas may have questions about how to fulfill their record-keeping responsibilities or their fiscal year-end reporting requirements. We can advise you on acceptable methods for recreating records if these are damaged by fires, and work with you on meeting reporting deadlines.
We have heard from consumers with accepted offers who have removed financing subjects, whose insurance companies have withdrawn their approval to insure the property due to the risk of damage from the fires. When this happens the lenders may also withdraw their approval for funding of the mortgage. Consumers in this situation should seek independent legal advice.
Licensees may wish to suggest their clients contact the insurance company and lender to determine what steps are required in order for the home to be insured again. In some cases, requesting an extension on the completion of the sale may be an acceptable solution, however consumers should seek legal advice about the potential risks of re-opening the contract.
In the end what is most important is communication. An open line of communication between the seller, the buyer and the licensees involved in the transaction is the best chance of resolving issues for all parties. As people begin to return to evacuated areas, we encourage real estate licensees to reach out to your clients who are in the middle of transactions to discuss their situation.
To contact the Council, phone us at 1-877-683-9664, or email the Professional Standards Advisors at [email protected].