August 2015 Report from Council Newsletter


Published on 17 August, 2015

  • Election of New Council Executive

    Marylou Leslie to Chair Council in 2015/16

    The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is pleased to announce that Marylou Leslie of Macdonald Realty Ltd., Surrey, has been elected as Chair for the 2015/2016 term.

    “We have a very interesting period ahead of us in BC. With real estate markets in many areas of the province rising rapidly, it is more crucial than ever to maintain a strong regulatory presence and ensure that consumers are protected. I’m honoured to be leading the Council during such a significant time for BC real estate,” said Ms. Leslie. “Real estate consumers in this province benefit from one of the strongest regulatory frameworks in North America, and I look forward to working to ensure the Council continues to provide effective public protection.”

    Ms. Leslie has been a licensed real estate professional for twenty-five years. She has been a member of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board since 1989, and a member of the Real Estate Council of BC since 2011. Joining Ms. Leslie as an Officer of the Council is Susan Lynch, of RE/MAX Centre City Realty, Prince George, the newly elected Vice-Chair of the Council.

    New Council Members

    The Council also welcomes several new members. Newly elected are members Christopher Brown of Magnum Projects Ltd., Vancouver; Calvin Lindberg of Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd., West Vancouver; and Dennis Fimrite of Firm Management Corporation, Saanichton.

    Colette Squires of Abbotsford was recently appointed to the Council by the provincial government, joining Barbara Barry of North Vancouver as a public member.

    New Strata Owner Member

    Amendments to the Real Estate Services Act in March 2015 authorized the Council to appoint one member representing strata property owners. The Council is pleased to welcome former public member John Nagy of Delta as the first Strata Owner Representative member.

    Re-elected Council members for a two-year term are: Garth Cambrey, Cambrey Consulting Ltd., Port Coquitlam; Marylou Leslie, Macdonald Realty, Surrey; Joseph Pearson, RE/MAX Vernon, Vernon; Susan Lynch, RE/MAX Centre City Realty, Prince George.

    Council members with one year remaining in their terms are: David Peerless, Dexter Associates Realty, Vancouver; Ralph Archibald, Polygon Realty Ltd., Vancouver; Susan McGougan, RE/MAX of Nanaimo, Nanaimo; Harvey Exner, Macdonald Realty Ltd., Maple Ridge; David Rishel, RE/MAX Little Oak, Abbotsford; Subhadra Ghose, RE/MAX of Nanaimo, Nanaimo.

  • A Note from the Chair

    Serving as Chair of the Council is a tremendous privilege, and a great responsibility. I’m honoured to have this opportunity to work on behalf of everyone in BC to ensure the public can have full confidence in the real estate industry, and that licensees act with the highest degree of professionalism, care, and skill when providing real estate services to their customers and clients. I look forward to working with Vice-Chair Susan Lynch and the other members of Council over the coming year to continue to protect the public interest and maintain high standards of practice.

    With real estate sales currently at record levels and prices in some areas of the province, the eyes of the public and the media are on real estate licensees. This hot market has created great opportunities for many property owners, but it also presents great risks. To help licensees avoid the potential pitfalls that come with active market conditions, the Council and staff from the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation have collaborated on the article “Steering Clear of Hazards” that you’ll find in this issue. Whether you’re a new licensee or a seasoned professional, I highly recommend that you read it over-it’s full of practical information that will help you to provide the best service possible for your clients.

    As real estate licensees, we must remember that we have an ongoing obligation to always act with complete honesty and in the best interests of our clients. By ensuring that our practices are beyond reproach, we protect the public, while continuing to build and strengthen the real estate profession.

    This self-regulatory approach-licensees working collaboratively with the Council to ensure that the industry remains safe and effective-has been a cornerstone of BC’s real estate industry for decades, and I look forward to seeing it continue successfully in the year ahead. My thanks to past Chair Susan McGougan for her leadership over the past year, and to all my fellow members of Council for their tireless work to enhance the professionalism of our industry and to maintain the public’s trust.

    On behalf of the Council, I would like to extend a warm welcome to two newly appointed members. Colette Squires of Abbotsford has been appointed by the provincial government as a public member, joining Barbara Barry of North Vancouver. Ms. Squires is a consultant specializing in mediation and organizational development. Former public member John Nagy of Delta has been appointed by the Council as the Strata Owner member. Recent amendments to the Real Estate Services Act authorized the Council to appoint a member to represent strata property owners, and Mr. Nagy will be the first appointed member to fill that role.

    On behalf of the Council members and staff, I wish you an enjoyable end to the summer, and a busy and productive fall!

    Marylou Leslie, Chair

  • Office Closures

    The Council office will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2015 for Labour Day and Monday, October 12, 2015 for Thanksgiving Day.

    The activity in residential property markets in most urban areas of BC has been at record levels over the past few months. At a time like this, when many properties are receiving multiple offers, selling quickly, and possibly re-selling just as quickly, licensees may feel pressured to assist their buyer or seller clients to make snap decisions and move fast in order to take advantage of the rising market. But acting fast should never mean acting carelessly.

    Complex situations-such as those involving multiple offers and counter offers, contract assignments, back-up offers, and the possibility of amended contracts-require licensees to pay careful attention to detail. And with prices rising, the stakes are very high for buyers and sellers. So take time to explain everything clearly to your clients and to outline all their options. Consult the Professional Standards Manual (PSM), ask your managing broker and/or advise your clients to seek legal advice whenever questions arise about the legal status of an offer or contract.

    To help you navigate the dangerous waters of today’s property market, we’ve put together our list of some of the top dangers to watch out for-and our risk management tips, drawn from the PSM, past issues of the Report from Council newsletter, and other key resources. No list can cover every possible situation, but use these tips to help you think about issues as they arise. As a licensee, a good start in avoiding many of these risks is to ensure that you know the answers to two key questions: “Who am I acting for?” and “Do I know what I’m selling?”

    Watch out for…

    1. Multiple Offers That May Not Happen

      In the current market, multiple offers are very common. But should you advise buyers or licensees representing buyers that there are multiple offers expected on a property before you’ve received any written offers?

      Hazard Warning: Until more than one written offer has been received, there is no multiple offer situation. Telling licensees or potential buyers anything else may be false.

      Steer Clear: Before you disclose any information about offers or the number of offers, ensure that you have the seller’s consent. It is the seller’s decision whether to inform other licensees or buyers about the existence and/or terms of other offers. When you take a listing, sit down with your clients to discuss their preferred selling strategy. Confirm any instructions from your client in writing, via text, email or other form of written communication.

      For more information, see Multiple Offers — Presentation Procedure

    2. Back-Up Offers That Take Centre Stage

      Your seller clients have accepted one of the multiple offers they received on their property. Or, while they’re waiting for the removal of the subject conditions, you’ve presented them with a second offer. In either case, on your advice, your clients have decided to accept a second offer as a back-up in case the first offer does not complete.

      Hazard Warning: When an offer has been accepted but before the conditions have been removed, a second accepted offer can “wait in the wings” in case the first offer collapses. But without a clearly written back up clause, the seller could find themselves bound by two contracts.

      Steer Clear: Overlooking details in an offer to purchase can have serious consequences. Make sure the back-up offer includes a clause clearly stating that the offer is subject to the seller ceasing to be obligated under a previously accepted contract.

      For more information, see

    3. No-Subject Offers That Are All-Risk

      Your buyer clients are so eager to see their offer on a property accepted, they’ve asked you to write an offer with no subject terms.

      Hazard Warning: By not including subjects, your clients will have no opportunity to arrange for a home inspection, review a title search or strata documents, and confirm financing or insurance approvals. There may also be other material facts that require due diligence that subject conditions need to provide for.

      Steer Clear: Advise your clients that writing an offer with no subject clauses could expose them to many potential risks. Ensure they understand that in moving forward without subject conditions they are accepting those risks. If your clients nevertheless choose to make an unconditional offer, you should follow up with a written summary of the advice you have given and maintain a copy of that summary in your file.

    4. Contract Assignment Complexities

      Your buyer client wants to assign his rights in the contract to another party, before the trade has completed.

      Hazard Warning: When buyers can re-sell a property at a higher price before the completion date, they may seek to assign their rights in the contract to another party. Assignments can create controversy, particularly because a buyer may make a profit that a seller may think should be in their own pocket, so before you act, consider:

      • Who is/are your client(s)-the buyer/assignor only; the buyer/assignor and the seller; the buyer/assignor, the seller and the assignee?
      • What are your obligations of agency disclosure, disclosure of material information, disclosure of conflicts of interest and disclosure of remuneration? From whom do you need to seek permission to act?
      • Is there anything in the contract to prevent the assignment?
      • Have your clients sought legal advice?

      Steer Clear: If you are representing either an assignor (the original buyer) or the assignee (the new buyer), you should ensure that:

      • The original contract permits assignments
      • The assignment is clearly drafted and validly executed
      • The identities of all parties are verified
      • The seller is notified in writing of the assignment (unless the Assignment Option Clause has been used)
      • The rights of the assignor and assignee to the initial deposit are clarified
      • All parties signing the assignment have the authority to do so.

      If you acted as a limited dual agent in the original sale, you would be required to disclose and seek the permission of the seller, before entering into any negotiations to represent the buyer in the assignment of the property.

      For more information, see “Assignment of Contracts” and “Conflicts of Interest” in the PSM.

    For further information:

    Look for more Hot Market Tips in the upcoming October issue of the Report from Council.

    Consumer Survey Sets Benchmarks for Success

    In early 2015, the Council asked Vancouver market research firm Mustel Group to help us uncover what real estate consumers are thinking and feeling about the real estate industry and real estate regulation in BC. We wanted to know: how satisfied are consumers with the real estate licensees who have assisted them with recent transactions, how informed and knowledgeable do they feel about the process of buying and selling real estate, and what do they know-or want to know-about the consumer protections available to them?

    The team at Mustel developed and launched an online consumer survey, which gathered responses from over 700 real estate consumers across the province. The survey results provide new insights into the public’s satisfaction with the professionals who conduct real estate services, and reveal for the first time how members of the public feel about the regulation of real estate in BC. The results will provide important benchmarks for the Council in the years ahead, as we work to increase consumer awareness of our role as a consumer protection agency, and our services and activities.

    Tracking consumer opinions and measuring our public impacts is an important aspect of our job to provide public protection for real estate consumers-and we’re sharing the survey results with licensees, because this information can also help you to do the best job possible. After all, protecting the public in real estate transactions isn’t only our role-it’s part of your responsibility every time you act for a client or customer.

    Survey Highlights

    infographics

    Buying and Selling Real Estate in BC

    Real Estate Transactions Continue to be a Common Life Experience

    • 15% of BC residents have bought or sold a property in the last two years.
    • 84% used the services of a real estate licensee to assist them with their transaction.
    • 70% of those who used a real estate licensee were satisfied or very satisfied with the services they received.

    But Are Consumers Adequately Prepared?

    • 40% felt they had spent enough time researching before selecting a licensee- nearly 1/3 felt they did not spend enough time researching
    • While 88% felt they received enough information to understand the real estate transaction, 28% agreed that the experience would have been enhanced if they had known more about the services to expect from a real estate licensee

    A Regulated Profession

    Consumers Know Real Estate Agents Must be Licensed

    • 93% of survey respondents are aware that a licence is required to conduct real estate sales in BC

    But What About Property Managers?

    • 31% are aware that rental property managers in BC must be licensed
    • 28% are aware that strata property managers in BC must be licensed

    When Things Go Wrong

    • If they are concerned that a real estate licensee has acted wrongly, 1/3 of BC residents feel they know what action to take.

    Consumers were able to name the key organizations to inform of a complaint about a licensee:

    • British Columbia Real Estate Association (33%)
    • Local Real Estate Board (33%) • the licensee’s managing broker (30%)
    • Real Estate Council of BC (30%)

    Regulatory Awareness

    • 18% of respondents were aware of the Real Estate Council of BC prior to the survey
    • 18% would look online to find proof that a real estate agent was licensed

    If you would like to request a copy of the full survey report, please contact the Council at [email protected]  — will open in a new tab.

    The Council recently conducted a review of the information contained in the article “Buying from an Estate” which appears in the Professional Standards Manual, and determined that the advice to licensees on the topic should be revised. It now reads as follows:

    1. Estate Sales

      If a licensee is considering acting on behalf of an executor of an estate that is selling property, or acting for a buyer of an estate property, they should confirm whether the executor or administrator has the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. This authority will take the form of a grant of probate or letters of administration.

      If a grant of probate or letters of administration has not been obtained, then the executor or the administrator may not have the legal authority to sign a listing agreement, or enter into a Contract of Purchase and Sale on behalf of the estate.

      Licensees are therefore encouraged to advise their client to seek independent legal advice before their client signs a listing agreement, and/or enters into a Contract of Purchase and Sale.

      An example of the proper way for an executor or administrator to sign a contract on behalf of the estate is: ”G. Seller, Executor [or Administrator] of the Estate of (name of the deceased).”

    You can find this article in the online Professional Standards Manual, at www.recbc.ca/psm/buying-from-an-estate/.

    If you are acting on behalf of an exector of an estate selling property, or for a buyer of an estate property, take note that the revised article advises that if:

    1. the executor of the estate has not yet obtained a grant of probate; or
    2. the person purporting to act as administrator has not yet obtained letters of administration,

    they may not yet have the authority to sign a listing agreement or enter into a Contract of Purchase and Sale.

    In this situation, licensees should recommend that their clients seek independent legal advice about the risks of entering into a listing agreement and/or Contract of Purchase and Sale before probate has been granted or letters of administration obtained.

    Licensees will also note that the Council has withdrawn the “Buying from an Estate Clause” that previously appeared in the Professional Standards Manual and on WEBForms.™ The British Columbia Real Estate Association has drafted a new clause for use in these situations and an accompanying education guide, which they have made available on WEBForms.™

    What you should do if…

    • you are about to take a listing for an estate property for which a grant of probate or letters of administration has not been obtained: we recommend that you advise the client to seek legal advice with respect to their authority to enter into the listing agreement before proceeding with the listing.
    • you have taken a listing for an estate property for which a grant of probate or letters of administration has not been obtained: we encourage you to advise the client to seek legal advice with respect to their authority to enter into the listing agreement and their ability to give instructions to you.
    • you are representing a client who is interesting in making an offer for an estate property on which a grant of probate or letters of administration has not yet been obtained: in this situation, you should advise your client to seek independent legal advice regarding the terms of the offer and the consequences of submitting the offer.
    • your client has entered into a Contract of Purchase and Sale regarding an estate property on which a grant of probate or letters of administration has not yet been obtained: in this situation you should advise your client, whether they are the seller or the buyer, to seek independent legal advice regarding the enforceability of the contract and the consequences of entering into the contract.
    • you are acting as a dual agent, and your clients have entered into a Contract of Purchase and Sale for an estate property for which a grant of probate or letters of administration has not yet been obtained: you must provide the same advice as above to both clients. Each client should seek independent legal advice from their own lawyer regarding the enforceability of the contract and the consequences of entering into the contract.

    On March 31, 2014 the Wills, Estates and Succession Act  — will open in a new tab [SBC 2009] c. 13 came into force, replacing a number of BC statutes, including the Estate Administration Act, Wills Act, and Wills Variation Act.

    Advertising with Licensees from Other Brokerages Can Put You at Risk

    Andy and Brandy are both successful licensees. One day over coffee they came up with a great idea: they decided to advertise together. They’d each include their current listings in the ad, they’d split the costs, and share all the leads and business generated. There’s nothing unusual about the practice of licensees advertising together-except that Andy and Brandy are licensed with different brokerages.

    That one fact makes Andy and Brandy’s good idea much more complicated, confusing for consumers, and risky for themselves, their managing brokers, and their brokerages. In fact, their “good idea” is really not a good idea at all.

    While co-advertising with licensees from other brokerages isn’t common, the numbers of these types of ads are growing. The Council cautions licensees to think very carefully about the risks involved in this practice before they decide to advertise jointly with licensees from a different brokerage.

    The Complications of Co-Advertising

    Licensees from different brokerages who decide to jointly advertise their real estate services and properties that are listed for sale, lease, or rent must ensure that all service agreements (for example, listing contracts) are co-listed by the brokerages. Only by co-listing can prospective buyers, renters, sellers or landlords who respond to the advertisements have the assurance that they are communicating with designated agents of sellers or landlords, who are able to act with proper authority.

    If co-advertising is not carried out with extreme caution, licensees may find themselves in contravention of the Real Estate Services Act and the Council Rules. If the Council investigates and finds evidence of professional misconduct, a hearing may be called, which could result in significant discipline penalties: potentially a fine or suspension, and publication of the discipline order. That’s not the kind of attention the advertisers were hoping to attract!

    Possible Co-Advertising Contraventions

    Co-advertising might seem like a mutually beneficial, cost-saving collaboration. However, unless it is very carefully designed, it can result in a quagmire of contraventions and potentially costly risk.

    Joint advertising can result in licensees, managing brokers and brokerages finding themselves in contravention of section 7 of the Real Estate Services Act:

    • Section 7(3)(a) requires that A managing broker, associate broker, or representative
      1. must not provide real estate services other than on behalf of the brokerage in relation to which they are licensed
    • Section 7(5) requires that A brokerage
      1. must not provide real estate services unless the services are provided on behalf of the brokerage by a managing broker, associate broker or representative who is licensed in relation to and engaged by the brokerage, and
      2. must not engage or allow a licensee who is licensed in relation to another brokerage to provide real estate services on behalf of the first brokerage unless the licensee is a managing broker licensed under subsection (2) in relation to both brokerages and engaged by both brokerages.

    Licensees and managing brokers should also keep in mind that joint advertising could result in contraventions of the following sections of the Council Rules:

    • Section 3-1 (1)-managing broker supervision
    • Section 3-2-associate broker and representative responsibilities
    • Section 3-3(c)-scope of authority
    • Section 3-3(e)-maintaining client confidentiality
    • Section 4-7-false and misleading advertising
    • Section 5-1-requirement for written service agreement
    • Section 5-10-disclosure of representation and relationships.

    Find More Information

    The Council has a useful guide to advertising that covers everything from lawn signs, to bus shelters, to social media. It includes guidelines for team advertisements, acceptable forms of Personal Real Estate Corporation advertising, and more. Find it on the Council’s website.

    Have you heard this cry for help recently in your office? Maybe it even came from you! If so, fear not: air space parcel help is at hand.

    The Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA) and the Real Estate Council of BC have partnered to create a bulletin with answers to all your questions about air space parcels. “What a Strata Corporation Needs to Know About Air Space Parcel Agreements” will guide you and your clients through:

    • the definition and basics of an air space parcel,
    • how to identify if a strata corporation is a party to an air space parcel agreement, and
    • items typically addressed in an air space parcel agreement.

    The bulletin also discusses complex issues surrounding air space parcel agreements, easements and covenants that will affect the governance of the strata corporation and its dealings with other neighbouring parties.

    You can find the bulletin online at

    www.recbc.ca/pdf/UnderstandingAirSpaceParcelAgreements.pdf.

  • Steering Clear of Hazards in Today's Hot Property Markets

    Whether you’re licensed for strata management, rental property management or for trading services, if you own a strata lot in a strata corporation you may be elected to your strata council. If your strata corporation is self-managed, you may also offer your services as an “inhouse” strata manager, on a volunteer, unpaid basis. You do not have to provide these volunteer services through your related brokerage-but first, you must make appropriate written disclosure to the strata corporation.

    To help licensees with this disclosure, the Council has developed the form “Disclosure of Management of Strata Corporation by Licensee who is an Owner.” It is available for download from the Forms and Fees section of the Council’s website. Licensees who use the form to make disclosure to a strata corporation must also provide a copy of the signed, completed form to their managing broker.

    Why Disclose?

    Activities such as sitting on a strata council and providing strata management services are licensed activities under the Real Estate Services Act (RESA). RESA defines “strata management services” to include exercising the delegated powers and duties of a strata corporation or strata council of a strata corporation, which is what both strata managers and strata council members do. However, section 9-3 of the Council Rules permits a licensee to be a strata council member and provide in-house strata management, with some restrictions and requirements. One of the requirements is that you must disclose in writing to the strata corporation that you are not acting as a licensee in relation to the strata management services you will be providing. As a licensee you are restricted to providing these voluntary services to a maximum of two strata corporations of which you are a strata lot owner.

  • Measuring Up:

    On June 22, 2015, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner released an updated version of “Privacy Guidelines for Strata Corporations and Strata Agents  — will open in a new tab” that is of importance to both strata agents and strata corporations. The revised guidelines contain a number of key changes with respect to how your clients’ information must be handled and disclosed.

    It is important to remember that all the strata corporation documents and records belong to the strata corporation. A brokerage is only looking after them on behalf of the strata corporation client through the provisions of the service agreement. So, before a licensee releases any strata corporation documents to any individual requesting access to documents, the licensee must bring the request to the attention of the strata council and receive their authorization for the release.

    Privacy Guidelines Quiz

    Test your knowledge of the Privacy Guidelines with our quick quiz. If the answers surprise you, review the updated guidelines — you’ll find lots to learn.

    1. Can a resident have access to a letter of complaint about them?

      1. No, that information is secret.
      2. Yes, but it must be redacted to remove any personal information of any other party, and any information that may reveal the identity of other parties prior to it being provided.
      3. Yes. AnswerThe correct answer is 3. Under section 36 of the Strata Property Act (SPA), strata councils must disclose records and documents to owners and other authorized individuals, including correspondence received by the strata corporation. The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) authorizes this disclosure pursuant to s. 18(1)(o).A resident may also make an access request pursuant to s. 23 of PIPA for his or her own personal information that is under the control of the strata corporation.

        As strata corporations are at liberty to disclose complaint letters to the person who is the subject matter of the complaint pursuant to SPA, it is advisable for strata corporations to have clear policies explaining to all owners and tenants that the strata corporation will disclose complaint letters upon receiving a written request pursuant to SPA by an authorized individual. This includes disclosure to the person who is the subject matter of the complaint should they make a request under the SPA.

    2. True or False: A strata corporation must redact any third party personal information in correspondence or other documentation requested by a strata property owner.

      1. True.
      2. False. AnswerThe correct answer is: False. Section 36 of SPA is a mandatory disclosure provision — strata corporations must disclose documents and records upon request by owners and other authorized individuals. PIPA authorizes this disclosure pursuant to s. 18(1)(o). As this disclosure is expressly authorized by SPA, there is no authority under PIPA to redact personal information contained in correspondence.
    3. Can an owner provide the name of a tenant to the strata corporation?

      1. No.
      2. Yes.
      3. It depends. AnswerThe correct answer is 2: Yes. Under Section 146 of SPA (Strata Property Act), landlords must give prospective tenants the current bylaws and rules and a Form K Notice of Tenant’s Responsibilities. Within 2 weeks of renting the strata lot, the landlord must give the strata corporation a copy of the Form K signed by the tenant. As well, under Standard Bylaw 4(2) on request of the strata corporation, a tenant must inform the strata corporation of his or her name.

    Recent surveys of managing brokers and newly licensed rental property management representatives have revealed there is widespread agreement about the key topics new rental property managers need to know-and about what’s least important.

    The surveys, conducted by the Council in conjunction with the Real Estate Division at UBC, asked rental property representatives and managing brokers for their input to help us identify recommendations for revisions to the Rental Property Management Licensing Course. The response was clear: place more emphasis in the course on leases and lease agreements, while mortgage finance and appraisal were seen as least important. There was also a strong appetite for even more information regarding the Residential Tenancy Act (there is already a full chapter and many partial chapters on the topic) and on dispute resolution (both under the Act and informally).

    The Real Estate Division also conducted a literature review, looking at recent Real Estate Council disciplinary decisions and BC Court cases involving rental property management licensees. Many of the topics identified in the survey were also significant issues in the literature review.

    As a result of the survey and literature review findings, the Real Estate Division is now developing new Licensing Course materials, including:

    • new material on the Residential Tenancy Act, highlighting the most important sections a rental property manager will encounter, as well as providing guidelines on how to apply those sections in his/her practice; and
    • new material dealing with dispute resolution processes, including hearings in front of the Residential Tenancy Branch and the role of the rental property manager in such hearings.

    The Real Estate Division is planning to introduce the revised materials in a phased implementation. Some changes will be made as early as January 2016, while a complete new version of the course will be introduced in January 2017, following changes due to legislative updates and to the introduction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal.

  • Council Updates: Changes to Estate Sales Information in Professional Standards Manual

    Our question this month was suggested by a licensee whose brokerage is considering making changes to improve and expand their IT infrastructure. The licensee wanted to be sure that by switching to a system of electronic records management, his brokerage would still comply with all the requirements of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA). In particular, he wondered about section 25 of RESA, which requires brokerages to “maintain proper books, accounts and other records in accordance with the rules, and must keep these records in British Columbia.”

    It’s a great topic, and a timely one, as more and more brokerages across the province make the decision to go paperless, adopting cloud computing and electronic data storage to update their records management practices. Here’s his question, and our response. We’ve added this to our online FAQ for licensees, which you can access anytime you’re looking for answers about common topics like Advertising, Disclosure, or Brokerage issues.

    Q:“My brokerage wants to begin storing all its files online. Does the Council have rules about where and how brokerages can store electronic records?”

    A: Yes we do. Before you set up your data management system, make sure you’re familiar with sections 8-9.1 and 8-10 of the Council Rules, and section 25 of RESA. Brokerages must ensure that copies of all documents are kept in BC, and that the copies can easily be transferred to a printed format for inspection by the Council, if requested. This includes brokerage accounting records, contracts and agreements, standard forms, correspondence, strata minutes, and more.

    When files are stored online, and the server is located outside of BC, paper or electronic copies of the records must be maintained in BC and must be available for inspection. If online files reside on a server located in BC, and the records can be transferred into printed form for inspection, the brokerage does not need to store additional printed or electronic copies of the records.

    Keep in mind that the requirements under RESA are not the only legislation you need to be aware of with regards to maintaining records. You should ensure that your brokerage’s practices are compliant with FINTRAC requirements, and any applicable privacy legislation. In addition, remember that if you choose to store records on servers located in the United States, the Patriot Act may apply.

    On July 7, 2015, the Council invited licensees to submit their comments  — will open in a new tab on proposed changes to the Council Rules and General Bylaws. These include amendments relating to:

    • requirements for licensees delivering deposits made payable to another party
    • changes to requirements for the handling of referral fees,
    • the prominence of a brokerage’s name in real estate advertisements,
    • the transfer of funds by brokerages that receive strata fees, including money intended to be deposited in a strata corporation’s or section’s contingency reserve fund, and
    • requiring former licensees, who apply for relicensing prior to their re-qualification date, to complete required continuing education before they may become licensed again.

    Please review the proposed changes at /pdf/July2015_Consultation.pdf.

    Submit Your Feedback

    Online:https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2185810/Feedback-on-Proposed-Council-Rule-Changes  — will open in a new tab

    By Fax: to 604-683-9017.

    By Mail: send your feedback to:

    Attention: Larry Buttress, Deputy Executive Officer

    Real Estate Council of BC

    900-750 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2T8

    This consultation on changes to the Council Rules and General Bylaws is open for comment until September 8, 2015. Your feedback is important to us and we welcome all comments.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]  — will open in a new tab.

  • Think Twice About Co-Advertising

    Harpreet Singh Purba

    Harpreet Singh Purba, while licensed as a representative with Century 21 Coastal Realty Ltd., Surrey, requested the Real Estate Council of British Columbia to discontinue disciplinary proceedings against him as he had decided to permanently surrender his real estate licence. Mr. Purba was facing a disciplinary hearing into his professional conduct and would have been required to appear before a hearing committee of the Real Estate Council to respond to these allegations.

    The allegations against Mr. Purba in the Notice of Discipline Hearing are:

    The Discipline Hearing Committee will also consider whether Harpreet Singh Purba, in the provision of real estate services:

    1. contravened section 35(1)(c) and/ or 35(2) of the Real Estate Services Act in that he drafted a Contract of Purchase and Sale dated September 3, 2009 for the purchase of the said property in the amount of $260,000.00, and also an addendum to the contract which stated that the seller was to give a discount in the amount of $54,000.00 to the buyer for renovations and upgrades to the unit, thereby effectively lowering the sale price to $206,000.00, which addendum was not disclosed to the financial institution for mortgage purposes, thereby resulting in the buyer receiving a mortgage in the amount of $247,000.00 and the sum of $36,453.43 from the mortgage proceeds on the completion of the sale, part of which funds in the amount of $16,000.00 was paid to his spouse;
    2. contravened section 5-11 of the Council Rules in that he failed to disclose to the seller that his spouse was supposed to receive $16,000.00 out of the mortgage proceeds on the completion of the sale;
    3. contravened section 5-8(2) and 5-10 of the Council Rules in that he failed to disclose to the seller with whom he had listed the property that he was providing trading services to the buyer when he prepared the said Contract of Purchase and Sale and the said addendum for the buyer to use;
    4. contravened section 5-9 of the Council Rules when he indirectly acquired a 50% interest in the said property which was held in trust by his spouse and failed to present the seller with a Disclosure of Interest in Trade as required by section 5-9 of the Council Rules when a licensee was acquiring property; and
    5. contravened section 35(1)(g) of the Real Estate Services Act in that he misled the Council in response to its inquiry into this matter by stating: “I clearly state that I was not involved in the purchase of this unit and as this deal was made directly between the sellers, and the buyers,” when in fact it was determined that he prepared the Contract of Purchase and Sale between the seller and buyer with respect to the subject property dated September 3, 2009 and also the addendum to the contract wherein the seller agreed to give a discount to the buyer in the amount of $54,000.00.

    There has been no discipline hearing or finding of fact with respect to these allegations, and no admissions to these allegations by Mr. Purba.

    The Council was satisfied that, in the circumstances of this case, permanent surrender of Mr. Purba’s licence in lieu of proceeding with disciplinary action was appropriate. The permanent surrender of Mr. Purba’s licence was effective as of June 8, 2015, although his licence was surrendered to the Real Estate Council on June 1, 2015.

  • "Help! What is an Air Space Parcel?"

    Since the June 2015 Report from Council newsletter, the following actions have been taken as a result of disciplinary hearings and Consent Orders conducted by the Council.

    Trading Services

    Rental Property Management

    Strata Property Management