British Columbia is introducing new rules from spring next year designed to strengthen consumer protection.
The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate announced this week that new measures would include banning dual agency, making BC the first province in Canada to do so.
“Ending dual agency removes the potential for conflict and serious problems,” said said Micheal Noseworthy, BC’s Superintendent of Real Estate. “We want to create transparency for both consumers and licensees to ensure everyone understands in whose interest licensees must be working.”
The British Columbia Real Estate Association says it is disappointed in the ban and that it will limit consumer choices. But it says it will do its best to ensure a smooth transition to the new rules, which come into force on March 18, 2018.
Dual agency will be allowed in certain cases where the property is so remote that finding multiple agencies is extremely difficult but these exemptions from the ban will be subject to strict reporting requirements.
The other rules being introduced are:
- Requiring enhanced disclosure of real estate licensee remuneration that will inform consumers about how remuneration is to be divided between a listing brokerage and cooperating brokerage.
- Ensuring licensees inform consumers of the duties and responsibilities owed to both clients and unrepresented parties before working with consumers.
- Warning consumers of the risks of relying on a licensee to provide limited assistance if the licensee already represents another party to the transaction.
“The Superintendent is introducing significant changes to the way that BC’s real estate professionals conduct business,” says Real Estate Council Chair Robert Holmes. “Our role is to protect consumers by ensuring that when the Rules come into effect, all real estate licensees understand how to comply with the new requirements, and to get information into the hands of consumers that they can use to make solid choices when working with a licensee.”