The Real Estate Council of British Columbia protects the public interest by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act. We license individuals and brokerages engaged in real estate sales, rental and strata property management, set entry qualifications, investigate complaints against licensees and impose disciplinary sanctions under the Act.
We are responsible for ensuring that the interests of consumers who use the services of real estate licensees are adequately protected against wrongful actions by licensees.
We encourage public confidence by impartially setting and enforcing standards of conduct, education, competency and licensing for real estate licensees.
We are accountable to government, and we advise government on real estate industry issues. Learn more about us by selecting one of the topics below.
Core Business Areas
RECBC is responsible for determining the appropriate education for individuals seeking to be licensed as real estate practitioners. The administration of licensing courses is delegated to the UBC Sauder School of Business, Real Estate Division.
In addition to establishing licensing guidelines and reviewing licensing courses, RECBC considers education and experience exemption requests from licensees and prospective licensees.
Relicensing Education Program
RECBC’s Relicensing Education Program (REP) requires licensees to complete education requirements during the licensees’ two-year licence period as a condition of continued licensing. Find further information about REP requirements.
RECBC regularly provides licensees with industry updates and related information in order that licensees may effectively carry out their duties. We do this through our Professional Standards Manual, Brokerage Standards Manual, electronic News Bulletins and Report from Council newsletters. We keep members of the public informed through our consumer brochures, public web site, and day-to-day handling of telephone, e-mail, and written inquiries from the public.
RECBC is responsible for licensing individuals and brokerages under the Real Estate Services Act. We administer a number of processes in connection with the issuance of licences including:
- determining suitability for all licence applicants
- conducting criminal record checks
- conducting credit history checks
- ensuring that each brokerage has a managing broker in place
- ensuring that brokerages maintain a proper place of business.
We issue licences in the following categories:
- trading services
- rental property management services
- strata management services.
RECBC has been performing office and records inspections since 1967 to ensure that all licensed brokerages in the province have proper controls in place to protect trust monies at all times. The objective of an office and records inspection is to provide constructive feedback to the brokerage by identifying any deficiencies in the office and records as required by the Real Estate Services Act.
Office and records inspections are conducted on the following priority basis:
- as a result of complaints from consumers, licensees or the Superintendent of Real Estate;
- as a result of exceptions on Accountant’s Reports;
- as a result of previous spot audit reports showing deficiencies;
- new brokerages* involved in strata management services or rental property management services followed by those engaged in trading services; and
- new branch offices that handle trust funds*.
*It is our goal to examine all new brokerages in the province within 12 months of licensing.
RECBC is responsible for investigating matters which involve possible contraventions of the Real Estate Services Act, Regulation or Rules.
Disciplinary procedures may be initiated as a result of:
- a complaint submitted by a consumer, licensee or the Superintendent of Real Estate.
- an investigation conducted under RECBC’s own initiative, as, for example, should we become aware of a court decision or news report indicating wrongdoing by a licensee.
RECBC has the authority to:
- reprimand a licensee;
- suspend the licensee’s licence for a period of time and/or until specified conditions are met;
- cancel the licensee’s licence;
- impose restrictions or conditions on the licensee’s licence, or vary any applicable restrictions or conditions;
- require the licensee to
- cease or carry out any specified activity related to the licensee’s real estate business
- enroll in and complete a course of study or training
- pay for enforcement expenses incurred by RECBC
- pay a disciplinary penalty up to $500,000 in the case of a brokerage or former brokerage, or up to $250,000 in any other case.
We do not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate monetary or contract matters that come under the control of the civil courts. Anyone who seeks to deal with monetary or contract matters must pursue a civil remedy through legal proceedings.
Orders in Urgent Circumstances
If RECBC determines that a licensee may have acted in a way that could result in a disciplinary order, that the length of time it would take to make such an order would be detrimental to the public interest, and that it is in the public interest to make an order, a discipline committee may:
- suspend a licensee’s licence
- impose restrictions or conditions on the licensee’s licence, or
- require the licensee to cease or to carry out specified activities related to the licensee’s real estate business.
RECBC has the authority to freeze property in the public interest, e.g. where there is evidence that trust funds have been misappropriated.
Understanding the Role of Real Estate Regulatory Bodies
BC’s real estate regulatory bodies and professional associations have distinct roles. Regulatory bodies focus on public protection by establishing and enforcing conduct standards for licensed professionals providing trading services, rental property management and strata management services. Learn more