New Consumer Protection Rules:  Information for Consumers

Kim PhillipsKim, Real Estate

Information for Consumers

The Superintendent of Real Estate has announced new rules for real estate licensees that will change the way a real estate professional can provide service to consumers. Under the new rules, real estate licensees will be required to:

  • give consumers more information about commissions and fees —  in particular, how the commission is to be divided between a listing brokerage and cooperating brokerage, or when there is no cooperating brokerage, retained by the listing brokerage;
  • before working with consumers, inform them of the duties and responsibilities owed to clients and unrepresented parties;
  • inform unrepresented consumers of the risks of dealing with a licensee who is representing another party to the transaction;
  • only work for either the buyer or the seller in a single real estate transaction. Under the new Rules, dual agency, the practice of acting on behalf of both the buyer and seller on the same trade, will be prohibited except in extremely limited circumstances.

The new rules will come into effect TOMORROW, June 15, 2018!

The Council has developed answers to a number of questions that real estate consumers may have about these new Rules.

If you have questions that aren’t addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions below, give me a call and I would be happy to explaing it in more detail.

Frequently Asked Questions about BC’s new Real Estate Consumer Protection Rules

Disclosure of representation

The Superintendent of Real Estate has created a new rule that requires a licensee to disclose to a consumer, at the beginning of their dealings:

  • whether the licensee will be able to represent the consumer as a client,
  • what the duties and responsibilities of licensees are to clients and unrepresented parties, and
  • how to file a complaint about a licensee’s conduct.

This new disclosure requirement is intended to ensure that consumers are not confused or misled about whether a licensee they are dealing with is going to be representing their interests in the transaction.

The Council is developing a new form, provisionally called the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services form, that clearly outlines for consumers the services that a real estate licensee can provide. This form, along with other information for consumers, will be made available before the new Rules take effect on TOMORROW, June 15, 2018.

Q: Can I still represent myself in a real estate transaction?

Yes. You may choose to be unrepresented rather than working with a licensee.

Q: When do I need to decide whether to be represented or not?

Before making that decision, you should consider the risks of remaining unrepresented, and the potential benefits of having a real estate licensee represent your interests in a trade in real estate.

Q: I have been working with a licensee for six months trying to buy a home. I came across one of my licensee’s listings, and I am interested in making an offer. I want him to represent me but he says he can’t, because limited dual agency is no longer allowed. Why can’t I work with my licensee anymore?

Licensees are no longer allowed to engage in limited dual agency, except in rare circumstances. Your licensee cannot represent both you (the buyer) and the seller in the same transaction.

Dual Agency

The Superintendent of Real Estate has created new Rules that generally prohibit the practice of dual agency, except in the rarest of circumstances. Dual agency refers to when a licensee represents, in a single transaction, two or more clients whose interests are in conflict. For example, a property seller and a prospective buyer for that property.

Because of the prohibition on limited dual agency, the licensee you have been working with cannot continue to act for you. However, you can choose a different licensee to represent you going forward. Your licensee can suggest names of other licensees who may be able to assist you.

In my opinion, there are pros and cons with these new changes, we have a very large database and advertise our listings on emails as well as on other social media platforms. 
Our combined years of business exceed 35 years in the Industry. WE know a lot of people and this will termendisly effect the way our clients going forward.