Consumers are increasingly protected in BC real estate industry. Credit: Shana Johnstone
"Introducing a new era of consumer protection in real estate for British Columbians has been the goal for BC's real estate co-regulators, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC), ever since 2016, when legislative changes made OSRE an independent office with enhanced oversight of RECBC. An ambitious goal? Definitely. Timely, relevant, and necessary? Without question."
This is the sentiment of authors Erin Seeley of RECBC and Superintendent Michael Noseworthy of OSRE, whose offices have been working together as co-regulators to strengthen consumer protection in the real estate industry.
New rules came into force on June 15, 2018, that limit the practice of dual agency. This means that when consumers now engage a real estate professional to assist them with a purchase or sale, their agent will be working to protect solely their interests in a real estate transaction as no longer can they represent the buyer or seller on the opposing side of the transaction. This move to limit dual agency is the first of its kind in North America.
"After consultation with real estate professionals and the public, in the fall of 2017 the Superintendent introduced rules that would largely eliminate the practice of dual agency in BC," say the authors. "Consumers have a right to expect the undivided loyalty of the real estate professional they have engaged to assist them. The new rules mean that in almost all cases, real estate professionals can only represent one client in a transaction. There are limited exceptions."
|Download Spring 2019|
Read more about the exceptions where dual agency is allowed and the co-regulators’ engagement of stakeholders and public to determine regulatory change in “Working Together to Strengthen Consumer Protection” in the Spring 2019 edition of Input. Download Spring 2019
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