New Discipline Penalties Now in Force


Published on 17 October, 2016

New Discipline Penalties Now in Force

Increased maximum fines and administrative penalties, longer publication periods for disciplinary decisions, online publication of hearing notices and licence conditions — they’re among the enhancements to public protection and real estate regulation being introduced by Government, the Real Estate Council, and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate. Real estate licensees are advised: new higher penalties are now in force under the Real Estate Services Act and will apply to any misconduct occurring on or after September 30, 2016.

Increased Maximum Fines

Amendments to the Real Estate Services Act increasing the maximum fines for licensee misconduct came into force on September 30, 2016.

Any misconduct by a licensee that occurs on or after September 30 can be penalized by a fine of up to $250,000 per contravention. Misconduct by a brokerage can be penalized by a fine of up to $500,000.

Administrative penalties

have also increased, to a maximum of $50,000 per contravention.

In addition, under an amendment to section 43(2)(j) of the Real Estate Services Act, licensees can now be required to pay an additional penalty “up to the amount of the remuneration accepted by the licensee for the real estate services in respect of which the contravention occurred.” This means that licensees who are found to have profited from misconduct on or after September 30, 2016 can be ordered to give up those profits.

Changes to Discipline Publication Expected

All Council discipline decisions are published online and in the Council’s newsletter, The Report from Council. Beginning December 1, 2016, those decisions will be available online for greater lengths of time.

The Council is enhancing its website to ensure that information on discipline decisions, upcoming hearings, and licence conditions and restrictions is easy for consumers and licensees to find and understand. These changes are intended to increase consumer protection and enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the Council’s disciplinary processes.

Beginning December 1, 2016:

  • Discipline decisions against licensees who have been reprimanded and/or fined up to 20% of the maximum penalty will be published on the Council’s website for 5 years.

  • Discipline decisions against licensees who have been suspended for up to one year, or received a fine greater than 20% of the maximum penalty will be published for 10 years.

  • Licence suspensions of one year or greater, maximum fines, licence cancellations, and orders in urgent circumstances will be published in perpetuity.

  • Discipline decisions will be linked to licensee search resultsavailable from the Council’s online licensee search page  — will open in a new tab.

  • Any conditions or restrictionson the licence of an individual or brokerage will appear in the licensee search results available from the online licensee search page  — will open in a new tab.

  • Upcoming notices of hearingwill be published on the Council’s website and will include the licensee’s name, the allegations against them, and the date and time of the scheduled hearing.

Questions?

If you have questions about the changes to the discipline penalties, or the upcoming changes to the Council’s publication policies, please contact us at [email protected].

This information is provided to you by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC).

Your feedback is always welcome and can be sent to [email protected].