B.C.’s real estate agents no longer have the ability to represent both buyers and sellers in a transaction. The dual agency ban from the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate aims to protect consumers and make the actions of agents more transparent. This ruling follows public concern over B.C.’s red-hot housing market, and along with the empty homes tax aims to correct the market.
Beginning January 15, 2018, brokerages will not be able to engage in dual agency deals. The exception is if a deal occurs in an area so remote that there are no other options available. In addition, commission sharing must be disclosed. Under current rules, a realtor must disclose their commission from a sale, but the sharing doesn’t have to be disclosed. With this information, the consumer will be able to renegotiate the contract with their realtor before proceeding with the deal.
How did these rules come to be? In June 2016, an independent advisory group investigated the problems in the B.C. real estate industry. These issues included brokers helping to launder money, not acting in clients’ best interests, and not disclosing assignment of contracts. The elimination of double-ended deals is meant to protect consumers and avoid conflicts of interest. Ontario is also considering banning dual agency deals, believing it promotes unethical behaviour.
The draft rules will be provided to realtors and the public, with superintendent Michael Noseworthy open to feedback over the next month. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’m happy to discuss what this means for buyers and sellers.
For more information, go to the RECBC website:
Picture source: The Province