Last week, the Ontario government introduced a bill proposing changes to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 that would, if passed by the legislature, modernize rules for registered real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons.
This comes after data obtained from Statistics Canada revealed the total value of all homes in Ontario more than doubled between 2005 and 2015, increasing to more than $2 trillion. During that time, inflation was less than 20 per cent.
“Real estate salespersons and brokers are the experts for home buyers and sellers,” said Lisa Thompson, minister of government and consumer services. “Whether a transaction involves a fixer-upper, a move-in ready dream home or a commercial property, every consumer should know that the person they are dealing with is professional, knowledgeable and accountable.”
Between January and March 2019, almost 7,000 consumers and real estate professionals responded to an online government survey and consultation paper about potential changes to the act.
The Trust in Real Estate Services Act, if passed by the legislature, would address the need for a stronger and more ethical business environment, to protect consumers when making one of their most significant purchase.
“The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is pleased to have worked closely with the Ministry through the consultation and development of this important piece of legislation,” said Michael Beard, CEO RECO. “The updated legislation will provide enhanced protection for
consumers and provide additional clarity for registrants around their role and responsibilities to both the buyer and seller. These changes are a reflection of the rapidly changing and modern marketplace and will help to ensure that consumers are protected when they make the biggest purchase of their life.”
The Act would include the following policy updates:
- Enable regulatory changes that would give consumers more choice in the purchase and sale process and improve the information they receive about what a real estate professional and brokerage must do for them.
- Improve professionalism among real estate professionals and brokerages by allowing for regulatory changes to enhance ethical requirements.
- Update the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)’s regulatory powers, by allowing it to levy financial penalties (also known as administrative penalties) to encourage compliance with the Act.
- Create a stronger business environment by laying the foundation for allowing real estate professionals to incorporate and be paid through the corporation while maintaining measures that protect consumers.
- Bring legislation up-to-date and reduce regulatory burden.
“Today marks a historic day for Ontario Realtors and the home buyers and sellers they represent every single day. For years, Ontario Realtors have advocated for higher professional standards, stronger consumer protections and better enforcement of the rules governing real estate practices,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Today, we are grateful to the Ontario Government for delivering on its promise to update the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, through the introduction of the Trust in Real Estate Services Bill. This Bill will modernize the rules governing real estate practices and ensure that the Realtor at your side during the biggest transaction of your life has the highest professional standards, training and modern tools in North America.”
There are more than 86,000 registered real estate salespersons, brokers and brokerages in Ontario.