Superintendent of Real Estate Releases New Rules
The BC Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate released new Real Estate Rules aimed at consumer protection, which will come into effect on March 15, 2018.
The new Real Estate Rules, which cover a wide range of matters, including qualification requirements for real estate professionals and business practices, are a significant departure from the status quo. These new rules change the way real estate professionals can do business, with new restrictions and disclosure requirements, all aimed at enhanced consumer protection. While potentially seen as a time and cost saving practice, dual agency is an area of conflict of interest risk and potential dispute to the party who did not initially engage the real estate professional.
The change that is most widely discussed is the prohibition on dual agency. Dual agency is the practice of representing parties on both sides of a real estate transaction. Under the new rules, this practice will be prohibited, except in limited circumstances where the real estate is in a remote location that is under-served.
Other changes include:*
- The requirement to provide more information about commissions and fees, including how they will be shared amongst real estate brokers.
- New disclosure requirements for real estate professionals when working with unrepresented parties. These include: a description of the risks to the unrepresented party, the limited assistance that the real estate professional may provide to the unrepresented party, and a recommendation that the unrepresented party seek independent professional advice
- The imposition of administrative penalties for contravention of the rules.
* Please note that the above list is not exhaustive.
The new Real Estate Rules can be found here.