Focus Forward: Modernizing Real Estate Regulation in BC
Message from the Chair
Focus Forward: Modernizing Real Estate Regulation in BC
This is an important time for the real estate sector in British Columbia. Initiatives are underway that will lead to changes in regulation, changes in the business practices of real estate licensees, higher standards within the industry and – ultimately — better protection for home buyers and sellers.
First and foremost is the expected announcement from the Superintendent of Real Estate with results of the recent consultation on Rules changes to eliminate limited dual agency and increase the disclosure requirements for licensees. While the Council no longer has rule-making authority, we still have an important role to play in these changes: you can turn to us for information and answers about how any rule changes will affect you, and for practical guidance about how to comply with new requirements.
Keeping You Informed
In this issue, you’ll find more details about the information resources we are developing to help keep licensees and consumers informed about the expected new Rules. In the months ahead, I urge all licensees to take the opportunity to educate themselves about the changes to the Rules and ensure they understand how those changes will impact their practices.
Every real estate licensee has a role to play in helping raise the bar in the real estate profession, by acting ethically and professionally. Changes like the ones expected from the Superintendent provide a great opportunity to demonstrate to consumers that BC’s real estate licensees are committed to acting in their clients’ best interests.
Over the past year, we’ve introduced changes to the educational requirements for licensees, and there are more planned for the future. We’re focusing on raising standards in our educational offerings because they are critical to enhancing professionalism and protecting consumers. High standards of education will ensure that all real estate licensees enter the profession ready to practice, able to fulfil their duties and obligations, and capable of providing consistent high-quality service to consumers.
In this issue, you’ll read about our commitment to education and some initiatives that are currently in progress, including:
- A review of Licensing Education, to gather feedback and consider options for improvements and best practices in adult education. We want to ensure that the education new licensees receive gives them the skills and knowledge to hit the ground running from day one.
- A phased introduction of a new re-licensing education course. In 2018, we will be transitioning to a new re-licensing course that will combine the best of online and in-class learning, with a new emphasis on ethics, consumer protection and regulatory compliance.
If you would like take part in consultations as part of the educational review, please get in touch with the Council’s Education department.
Taking Action against Misconduct: Anonymous Tipline
As a regulator, the Council exists to protect the public and maintain consumer confidence in the real estate industry. Every licensee, as a member of a regulated industry, has a responsibility to protect consumers by taking action when they become aware of potential misconduct.
We know speaking out about misconduct can be difficult, so we want to help members of the public and licensees bring suspicious activity to the Council’s attention. We’re implementing an anonymous tipline, making it easier for individuals to tell us about activity that we may need to investigate or take action to stop.
Read more about the anonymous tipline in this issue, and about opportunities to give us your feedback about this initiative.
Take note as well that the Council has recently ordered the emergency suspension of a licensee whose alleged activities put vulnerable members of the public at risk, and could damage public confidence in the real estate industry. It is our job as regulator to take prompt and decisive action to protect the public when we become aware of serious contraventions of the Real Estate Services Act. You can help, by reporting misconduct when you see it.
Strategic Planning and Stakeholder Consultation
With so much work underway and so much ahead for the Council, developing a clear vision for the organization’s strategic goals is a priority. Earlier this fall, Council members and senior Council staff began the development of a strategic plan that will guide the Council over the coming three years.
Some of the issues we want to focus on in the years ahead include:
- enhancing education,
- reaching out to consumers with information to help them make informed decisions, and
- increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our investigative and disciplinary processes.
We’re inviting representatives from key stakeholder organizations to a consultation event this month, where we’ll be asking them for their thoughts on the critical issues facing the Council. We’ll share the results of that day of engagement on our website and in the next issue of this newsletter.
And we want to hear from you. What do you think the Council’s priorities should be in the years ahead? To give your feedback, visit our Stakeholder Engagement webpage where you’ll find information on a variety of ways you can engage with us.
Change for the better
We’re in an exciting period of change. There is a great deal of work ahead, but we know the end result will be worth it: well-protected consumers, highly skilled and knowledgeable licensees, and a strengthened real estate sector.