Contact Us Licensee Login

An Overview of New Consumer Protection Rules

 

The Superintendent of Real Estate has introduced new Rules for real estate licensees that will change the way a real estate professional can provide service to consumers. These new Rules will come into effect on March 15, 2018

To help licensees and consumers understand these changes, the Council will be adding a variety of resources and materials to its website over the coming weeks.

For more information see:

 

Below is some explanatory information about the changes to the Rules that have been introduced. Learn more about the new rules here

 


Show/Hide Answer Open All

 

 New and Amended Rules

Show/Hide AnswerNew Definitions

Five new defined terms have been added to the Rules:

  • co-operating brokerage
  • designated agent
  • dual agency
  • listing brokerage
  • unrepresented party.

These new definitions standardize the terms introduced by the new Rules dealing with dual agency, representation disclosures, and licensee remuneration.

 

Show/Hide AnswerAdministrative Penalties

A list of the contraventions of the Real Estate Services Act for which the Real Estate Council can issue administrative penalties has been added to the Rules.

In his consultation on the proposed Rules, the Superintendent commented that, 

“As part of their discipline procedures, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (the Council) may impose administrative penalties on licensees when they contravene designated rules. The list of rules subject to administrative penalties was previously designated by the Real Estate Services Act (RESA) Regulation. This change is a housekeeping matter and inserts the list of designated contraventions into the rules.”

Show/Hide AnswerWritten Service Agreements Required Content

The Superintendent has added a paragraph to the section of the Rules dealing with written service agreements. The new wording will:

“require listing agreements that provide for remuneration to be shared by a listing brokerage with a cooperating brokerage to include a standard term for specifying how much remuneration will be paid to the listing brokerage and the cooperating brokerage and a standard term specifying the amount of remuneration payable where there is no cooperating brokerage to the transaction.”

 

Show/Hide AnswerDisclosures Under Part 5, Division 2 of the Rules

The Superintendent has amended the section of the Rules dealing with Disclosures to require that all disclosures to consumers made under Part 5, Division 2 of the Rules be in writing.  The Superintendent commented in his consultation on the proposed Rules that 

“the change will ensure consistency with how such disclosures under this Division are handled.”

 

Show/Hide AnswerDisclosure of Representation in Trading Services

 

The Superintendent has repealed the current section on Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services, and has replaced it with a new section. Under the new Rule, licensees must make a disclosure to consumers about whether or not the licensee will represent the party as a client, before providing any trading services except exempted activities, e.g. hosting an open house or providing factual responses to general questions. The disclosure must be made in writing in a form approved by the Council. 

The Superintendent commented in the Consultation document on the proposed Rules that, 

“Licensees may host open houses and provide general factual responses to consumers without providing this disclosure, unless a licensee receives or solicits confidential information from the party as part of these activities.”

More information about this new Rule is available in the Council’s Information for Licensees page.

 

Show/Hide AnswerDisclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties

 

The Superintendent has added a new required disclosure that licensees must make to consumers when working with unrepresented parties. The disclosure must be made to an unrepresented party when the licensee is already representing a client to a trade in real estate. The disclosure must include a description of the risks to the unrepresented party, the limited assistance that the licensee may provide to the unrepresented party, along with a recommendation that the unrepresented party seek independent professional advice or representation.

In his comments on the rule in the Consultation document, the Superintendent stated that,

“This disclosure will inform consumers of the limited assistance that a licensee may provide to an unrepresented party as well as encourage consumers to seek independent professional advice.”

The Council is developing a disclosure form that licensees will use in these circumstances.

Show/Hide AnswerDisclosure to sellers of expected remuneration

 

The Superintendent has added a new disclosure that licensees must make to seller clients for every offer that is presented. The disclosure will ensure that sellers are fully informed of the expected remuneration that the brokerage(s) will receive if the client accepts that offer. The disclosure must include how the commission will be shared, if at all, and inform the seller of any other remuneration the licensee will receive or expects to receive as a result of the trade. 

The Council is developing a form that licensees will use for this disclosure.

Show/Hide AnswerRestriction on dual agency in trading services

 

The Superintendent has created a rule to prohibit the practice of dual agency. Dual agency is when a licensee represents two or more parties with competing interests in a trade in real estate, such as both buyer and seller, or two or more competing buyers. 

 

Show/Hide AnswerDual agency in under-served remote location

 

The Superintendent has provided a narrow exemption to the rule prohibiting dual agency, for rare situations where the trade occurs in remote locations that are under-served by licensees and where an alternative to dual agency would be impracticable. All three conditions must be met in order to qualify under this exemption. “Impracticable” means “not capable of being done.” It does not mean “inconvenient.”

Before practicing dual agency under this exemption, a licensee must make a disclosure to both parties to the transaction, informing them of the duties and responsibilities of the licensee to the clients, and the risks associated with a dual agency relationship. The disclosure must include a signed statement by the brokerage explaining why the exemption applies. The signed disclosure must be provided to the Council promptly once the dual agency agreement is entered into.

The Council is developing a form that licensees will use for this disclosure.

 

Show/Hide AnswerConsultation on new rules 

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate has published the results of their public consultation on the new Rules. You can read the summary report here