Are the rules for real estate agents and brokerages reviewed and updated? How often?
We get this question occasionally, but it is timely to discuss it now.
The provincial government continually monitors the effectiveness of legislation, including the laws that regulate brokerages, brokers and salespeople trading in real estate — as well as individuals who are not registered and may be trading illegally. The last major changes were made in 2006 and several updates have since been made to address a variety of issues as they have arisen.
The government is currently looking for input on a revised Code of Ethics for brokerages, brokers and salespeople. The deadline to submit your comments is July 2, 2021.
But first allow me to provide a little context.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is responsible for the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), the legislation that governs real estate brokerages, brokers and salespeople in Ontario, setting rules for how they conduct business and interact with consumers.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is the not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering and enforcing REBBA. This includes regulating the activities of more than 98,000 brokerages, brokers and salespeople trading in real estate in Ontario, and of individuals who are not registered and may be trading illegally.
RECO supports reforms to strengthen and modernize the law to better protect consumers and enhance professionalism in the real estate sector.
Two years ago, the ministry held its first round of consultations on updating REBBA, and nearly 7,000 consumers and real estate professionals responded to an online survey.
As a result of those consultations, new legislation was introduced to modernize REBBA. The first set of changes brought into force permitted salespeople and brokers to:
- incorporate and be paid through a personal real estate corporation; and
- use more recognizable terms, such as “agent” and “realtor” in their advertisements.
The government is now seeking input on an updated Code of Ethics that would spell out requirements for real estate salespeople concerning integrity, quality of service and conflicts of interest.
Future regulations will aim to:
- enhance the clarity of relationships between consumers and brokerages;
- strengthen disclosure requirements and other obligations of real estate representatives to better protect consumers and increase consumer choice; and
- update RECO’s regulatory powers and tools, including revising the procedures of RECO’s discipline committee.
If you are interested in reading more about the proposed updates, visit the Ontario Regulatory Registry website at ontariocanada.com/registry — go to Current Proposals and scroll down to the 15th listing.
If you have comments on the proposal, submit them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 2. The ministry will consider all input when preparing the final draft code.
This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.