TORONTO, July 19, 2017 /CNW/ - The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is encouraging Ontarians to take part in the provincial government's public consultation on proposed changes to the rules for multiple representation.
This is the first phase of two in the government's commitment to modernize the rules for real estate professionals in the province. The public is invited to submit feedback on the government's proposal to prohibit real estate agents from "double ending" real estate deals, before the July 24 deadline. Double ending is a form of multiple representation where the same salesperson represents both the buyer and the seller.
"The public consultation is a welcomed opportunity for buyers and sellers across Ontario to offer their perspective and ideas on how to strengthen consumer protection in the province's real estate sector," said Joseph Richer, RECO Registrar.
As the regulator and consumer protection body for real estate in Ontario, RECO's mandate is to protect the public interest through a fair, safe and informed marketplace. In January 2017, RECO submitted recommendations to government on how to enhance the rules around multiple representation so that consumer protection is strengthened. RECO recommended that the Ontario government revise the rules to:
- Prevent or prohibit conflict of interest situations;
- Eliminate or drastically reduce the financial benefits of acting unethically;
- Ensure consumers are provided with clear, consistent information regarding the nature of their relationship with their representative, and the services they'll provide; and
- Provide RECO with appropriate tools and penalties to respond to consumer harm.
"Today's consumers are demanding more transparency in real estate transactions, which, for most of us, are the biggest financial transactions of our lives," said Richer. "This public consultation is a key first step in increasing trust and transparency. We encourage Ontarians to submit their feedback, before the consultation period ends."
RECO says that ideally consumer harm should be prevented from occurring at all, but when harm does occur it's important that misbehaviour is punished appropriately.
"We also support the government's proposal to increase penalties for breaking the rules," said Richer. "RECO welcomes additional tools to punish and discourage misbehaviour."
This could include higher fines, disgorgement (where the broker or salesperson would have to pay back some or all of the commission that they earned), and giving RECO discipline panels the power to suspend or revoke registrations more promptly, as opposed to the current process, which can be lengthy and cumbersome.
Today, real estate professionals who break the rules may be fined up to $50,000 or be kicked out of the business.
Phase one of the government's review of real estate rules may be read here. Phase two will encompass a broader review and it is scheduled to begin in spring 2018.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario regulates real estate professionals in the province on behalf of the Ontario government by enforcing the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA). We protect the public interest through a fair, safe and informed marketplace. RECO holds registered brokers and salespersons to professional standards, protects the public interest, and enhances consumer confidence in the real estate profession. In addition, RECO strives to educate consumers to ensure they understand the benefits of a regulated real estate sector. For more information, visit www.reco.on.ca.
SOURCE Real Estate Council of Ontario
For further information: Adam Hawkins, Senior Communications Officer, Real Estate Council of Ontario, 416-207-4862, adam.hawkins@RECO.on.ca