Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Laws Protect Us, Restrict & Sometimes Confuse Us

Contrary to what the public often perceive, REALTORS® across Canada are held accountable to a very high standard of conduct. Here in Ontario, REALTORS® are licensed under provincial law namely the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA 2002).

During the past 12 years in addition to my own business, I have been actively involved in the behind the scenes aspect of organized real estate having held a number of positions with our local real estate Association including that of President (2008). This year I have expanded my participation in this regard as I currently sit on the committee at the Ontario Real Estate Association that reviews and make recommendations relative to the various Provincial forms, conditions and clauses etc. that are used in the listing and sale of properties.

In addition to REBBA 2002, the activities of REALTORS® also fall under the requirements of Canada’s Privacy Act adding restrictions that protect consumers further. Then there is the federal Competition Bureau. Some of the requirements these government bodies impose complement each other while other contradict each other.

Recently a REALTOR® was fined $5,000 and ordered to take an educational course when they failed to be present at a property during a home inspection that was being performed on behalf of a buyer. In their complaint to the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the Seller(s) was concerned (and rightly so) that a home inspector had been given access to their home via the lockbox code with no REALTOR® present. The REALTOR® was found to have not acted fairly and honestly, they failed to provide conscientious, competent service and lastly exhibited unprofessional conduct. There is no question that the homeowner’s complaint should have been upheld.

So here’s the rub. Our real estate Association investigated as to whether a requirement could be implemented within our MLS® rules making it mandatory for a REALTOR® to be present for a home inspection or for one by an insurance broker, real estate appraiser etc. The answer? No. The reason being it was deemed that such a rule could be viewed or construed as being anti-competitive.

In future postings I will share additional stories that impact consumers. In the meantime here are a couple of points you may not be aware of.

- As per the Privacy Act, REALTORS® are not allowed to call sellers whose listings have expired unless the seller(s) has provided written consent allowing it.

- As per the Privacy Act, buyers, home inspectors and appraisers etc. are not allowed to take photos of a seller’s home without their written consent.

- Did you know that as a customer, you are not owed the same fiduciary duties by a REALTOR® as you would as a client?  Legally there is a difference between the two distinctions.

Sometimes laws protect us, sometimes they restrict us and sometimes they just plain confuse us.

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Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.