As the review of the act regulating Ontario real estate continues, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is asking members for feedback on several proposals, including removing the exemption that allows salespeople who work for builders or developers without being registered and creating greater transparency in the offer process.
“The real estate market has changed tremendously since 2002 when REBBA and its Code of Ethics were first introduced,” says Ettore Cardarelli, OREA president. “Industry practices, business models and technology that are common place today were not present for the drafting of REBBA. Updating the act will ensure Ontario Realtors are held to standards that make sense in today’s real estate market.”
The proposals are intended to encourage feedback from Ontario Realtors and the public, which will inform the final recommendations that OREA presents to the government later this year, the association says.
Other proposals include expanding the definition of a trade under the act. “A lack of clarity in the definition has permitted some unregistered individuals to market themselves to consumers as professionals who can help facilitate a real estate transaction,” says the proposal. “These unregistered ‘consultants’ pose a significant risk to consumer protection.”
In suggesting greater transparency in the offer process, the proposal says, “Under the current system, registrants are not permitted to disclose the contents of any offer to the other party apart from the seller. Bidding blind can create suspicion and mistrust, especially if the listing agent has their own offer…If the parties (buyer and seller) want a transparent offer process, the act and code should allow for that with the consent of the parties.”
Another proposal would deny registration to anyone applying who has “a violent or fraudulent criminal conviction in the last 10 years…with no right to appeal.”
There is also a suggestion that would institute a mandatory “cooling off” period of at least two years before a Realtor who has had their licence revoked can re-apply for registration.
Another proposal would fine buyer agents “when a confirmed appointment for a showing does not show up and a timely or reasonable explanation is not given.”
Members are asked to give their opinions on the proposals at www.REBBAreform.ca.
“Modernizing the act is an opportunity for Ontario Realtors to strengthen our industry and enshrine the highest professional standards in North America,” says Cardarelli. “We may not get the chance to do this again for many years. We are making the most of this opportunity to once again set the gold standard for real estate regulation in North America.”