The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (the “Act”) which came into force on March 31, 2006, contained two new offences related to falsifying information.
Sec. 34 and 35 of the Act state:
34. No registrant shall falsify, assist in falsifying or induce or counsel another person to falsify or assist in falsifying any information or document relating to a trade in real estate.
Furnishing false information
35. No registrant shall furnish, assist in furnishing or induce or counsel another person to furnish or assist in furnishing any false or deceptive information or documents relating to a trade in real estate.
These provisions make it an explicit offence under the Act to falsify information, assist another person in falsifying information or furnish false information related to real estate transactions.
Registrants who contravene this section of the Act may have their registration suspended or revoked or be charged under the statute. If convicted of an offence under the Act, individual registrants may be fined up to $50,000 and are subject to prison terms of up to 2 years. Corporations are subject to fines of up to $250,000 for offences under the Act. In addition, a court may order a convicted person to pay compensation or restitution to affected parties.
These measures reflect the fact that falsifying information related to real estate transactions is a serious issue. Any registrant, for example, who counseled an individual to lie with respect to a mortgage application, would be guilty of an offence under these clauses.
Registrants also have an obligation not to provide any false information about a property during a transaction or to counsel a seller to falsify any information about a property.
These measures also strengthen the ability of enforcement officials to deal with real estate scams. Most if not all real estate scams, involve, at some point in the process, the falsification of information related to a real estate transaction. In some real estate scams individuals have sold properties without the true owners consent. Registrants or any persons who participate in this type of activity are obviously operating in violation of the Act.