OREA is commending the Ontario government for introducing real estate legislation that tackles conflict of interest situations and consumer confusion that can arise in the current multiple representation system.

“These new rules are some of the strictest in North America when it comes to transparency and consumer protection,” says OREA president-elect David Reid. “Ontario Realtors were pleased to work with the government to bring more clarity of a Realtor’s duties to the consumer and address any real or perceived conflict of interest.”



The mandatory designated representation model proposed by the government, “will set a North American leading standard for greater transparency, enhanced clarity of the duty and obligations of Realtors and tougher consumer protection,” says OREA.

It says the province has also committed to allowing consumers to work with a Realtor of their choice as an impartial transaction facilitator under a strict set of rules. The facilitator model would only apply to instances where both clients involved in the transaction consented in writing to the arrangement. Consent would come through a simple, plain language document that clearly outlines the duties and obligations of the Realtor to the consumer with much higher fines for those who break the rules.

“A big part of a Realtor’s job is to act as a facilitator, bringing a willing buyer and seller to the table to find a win-win solution,” says OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “Where a Realtor is acting as a facilitator, the government’s proposal will ensure a high level of transparency and consumer protection.”

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) says it met “multiple times” with Ontario government officials to provide input on ongoing consultations.

“TREB supports, in principle, the proposal to move towards a mandatory designated representation model. This approach is consistent with numerous other Canadian jurisdictions, and we believe that it will allow for the efficient operation of the marketplace, while ensuring consumer protection,” says Tim Syrianos, TREB president.

“The detail still needs to be sorted out and the legislation still has to go through the legislative process, including public consultations. However, the government has committed to moving forward with a model similar to what the industry is advocating for,” says TREB CEO John DiMichele.

OREA says it is also pleased that the proposed legislation would double fines for breaches of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) Code of Ethics and mandate new disclosures in real estate forms, both of which OREA advocated for as part of the province’s REBBA review process.

“Right now, too often fines amount to a mere slap on the wrist,” says Hudak. “Ontario needs much stronger deterrents for unethical behaviour and a regulator that isn’t afraid to throw the book at the small number rule breakers.”

Other REBBA-related issues TREB would like to see addressed include:

  • Need for an ombudsman for the real estate industry.
  • A strong regulator with the ability to investigate industry issues.
  • Allowing salespeople to incorporate.
  • Brian Martindale

    The “impartial transaction facilitator” idea is a good one, however, it appears that this “facilitator” will still be a commissioned salesperson with skin in the game. I think that this model can be improved upon. Here is my submission to that end regarding dual agency transactions:
    Another Realtor of local stellar repute (not from the chosen Realtor’s brokerage but whom the buyer’s and seller’s mutual Realtor would recommend to his/her respective buyer/seller clients for their approval) would oversee/facilitate the negotiation process once an offer—or offers—has/have been announced as being on the table. The outsider would sit in on the negotiation process (face-to-face with all Realtors and all other parties to the negotiation) and advise both the seller and buyer regarding the pros and cons of the offer(s)/counter offer(s) etc. Said outsider would watch the buyer’s and seller’s emotional responses to what was being said back and forth between their Realtor. Said outsider would have no skin in the game. Said outsider would be paid an agreed-upon hourly fee by the Realtors in question—out of said Realtors’ own pockets—whether or not a deal was struck. The Realtors in question would have already agreed, in writing, to this stipulation. Now you are talking about having a real conciliator/consultant on the job whose job it is is to hopefully satisfy both the seller’s and the buyer’s financial requirements ‘and’ emotional requirements. This system would eliminate tire-kicking offers and overly emotional non-rational decision-making blunders on the parts of both buyers and sellers. Too cumbersome a system one might say? Not as cumbersome as going before a tribunal or a judge with all of its costs and time wasting efforts whereby oftentimes no one is satisfied with the outcomes…except the lawyers. We are talking about negotiating over peoples’ most important financial/often emotional transactions within their lifetimes after all is said and done. Achieving professionalism is often not an easy task, nor should it be. “Time is of the essence” should instead read “Professionalism is of the essence”. Enough with the rush-rush-rush commission-chasing crowd which wants signatures applied to forms quickly before signatories change their minds about what is about to happen. My idea would serve as a kind of pre cooling-off period before the fact.
    Comments?

    • Carolyne in Canada

      This American link perhaps provides some fodder for discussion purposes, Brian. Since you are now a Canadian official Ontario based real estate “advocate,” you might care to discover the American alleged insight on the topic provided by this “organization.”

      I was searching for something totally off topic and this shocking consumer education ad appeared in my google search:

      http://www.caare.org/Top10WorstBusinessPractices

      Just sharing. No comment on the ad. Your thoughts?

      Carolyne L 🍁

      • Brian Martindale

        I have been reading portions of this site on and off today. It is quite a large site with much in the way of exposure of real estate brokerage shenanigans in the U.S. It certainly provides food-for-thought regarding what an advocate might put forth as warnings for consumers to be considerate of, especially dual agency pitfalls. I will comment more fully once I have read the entire website material.
        I wouldn’t be surprised if it was found that these folks were badly burned by a Realtor or Realtors in the recent past. There’s nothing like a pissed-off consumer who has been deceived by a commissioned salesperson (resulting in a financial loss) to get the public-education ball rolling. The “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” saying comes to mind. Just replace the word “woman” with “consumer” and the effect is the same.