Special Compensation Fund

Providing financial protection for members of the public who have lost money because of the actions of a real estate professional.

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The Special Compensation Fund provides financial protection for members of the public who have lost money because of the actions of a real estate professional.

If you have entrusted money to a real estate professional or an unlicensed individual at a real estate brokerage, and your money has been:

  • misappropriated or wrongfully converted,
  • intentionally not paid over or accounted for, or
  • obtained by fraud,

you may wish to file a claim for compensation from the Special Compensation Fund.

Learn more about the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation  — will open in a new tab.

Questions and Answers about the Special Compensation Fund

  • How can the Special Compensation Fund help me?

    If you think you’ve suffered a compensable loss, you may be entitled to compensation. The Special Compensation Fund can potentially reimburse you for all or part of your loss.

    Payment is limited to a maximum of $200,000 to a single claimant, or if there are multiple claimants, to a total of $1,000,000 for all claimants from a single brokerage.

  • How is the Special Compensation Fund managed?

    The Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation (RECFC) is responsible for overseeing the Compensation Fund. The RECFC’s Board of Directors consists of three directors appointed by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) and two directors appointed by the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

    RECBC is responsible for administering claims from consumers to the fund.

  • How do I file a claim?

    If you believe you’ve suffered a compensable loss, contact RECBC immediately.

    We will send you an information package with full details about trust protection coverage and the process of filing a claim to the Real Estate Compensation Fund.

    We encourage you to obtain independent legal advice about your claim.

  • How long do I have to file a claim?

    You must file your claim within two years of the earlier of either:

    1. the date on which the compensable loss occurred, or
    2. if the licence of the responsible brokerage was cancelled after the conduct that caused the compensable loss, the date of that cancellation.
  • What happens next?

    RECBC reviews all the claims that we receive. If it appears that there may a compensable loss, your claim will be referred to an RECBC Compensation Committee.

    The Compensation Committee may do one of three things:

    • conduct a hearing to determine whether you have suffered a compensable loss and, if applicable, assess the amount of that loss
    • decline to make either a determination or assessment, or both, because it considers the matter would more effectively be dealt with by a court proceeding, or
    • postpone conducting a hearing, until a discipline hearing or court proceeding has concluded.

    If the Committee finds there has been a compensable loss, it will assess the amount of the loss and direct the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation (RECFC) to make a payment to you.

    An RECBC Disciplinary Hearing Committee or the Superintendent of Real Estate may also determine, after a hearing, that there has been a compensable loss and direct the RECFC to make a payment.

  • Are there limits to the compensation I can receive from the Special Compensation Fund?

    A single claimant can receive a maximum of $200,000 from the Special Compensation Fund.

    When there are multiple claimants against a single brokerage, payments are limited to a maximum of $1,000,000 in total regardless of the number of claimants.

    Payments will be adjusted for amounts already recovered from other sources.

    Compensable losses must arise from the provision of real estate services as defined in the Real Estate Services Act.

    A finding of compensable loss must be a decision arising from a hearing on evidence – it cannot arise from a consent order process or from a judgment in default.

  • I’ve started a lawsuit about the loss. Should I also make a claim to the Special Compensation Fund?

    If you are seeking compensation through the courts, you must provide written notice of the court proceeding to RECBC and to the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation (RECFC). The RECFC has the option of being a party to the court proceeding.

    If the court makes a finding on the evidence of a compensable loss and assesses an amount, that finding is binding on the Compensation Committee and the RECFC in the same manner as a finding of a compensable loss by the Compensation Committee.

  • Where does the money in the Special Compensation Fund come from?

    Everyone who is licensed to provide real estate services in BC contributes to the Special Compensation Fund through their licensing fees.

  • Can I appeal a decision by RECBC to not forward my claim to a Compensation Committee? What about a decision by a Compensation Committee rejecting my claim after a hearing?

    According to the Real Estate Services Act, applicants to the compensation fund whose claim is not referred to a Compensation Committee do not have a right to appeal and similarly, if a claim is rejected by a Compensation Committee after a hearing, applicants do not have a right to appeal. An applicant in either of these situations is encouraged to seek independent legal advice concerning their options, which may include judicial review at the BC Supreme Court. Real Estate Council staff are unable to provide advice in this respect.