I recently went to see a condo, and the concierge asked to see my real estate salesperson’s “certificate” before we were permitted to access the building. Does this have something to do with new measures in place during the pandemic?

This is a common practice at condominiums. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) Certificate of Registration is issued to individuals registered to trade as a salesperson or broker. It has no association with COVID-19 or the current state of emergency in the province.

In Ontario, individuals trading in real estate must be registered with RECO, the provincial regulator of the real estate industry. RECO administers the laws in Ontario’s real estate sector, on behalf of the government and in the public interest. The certificate helps protect consumers by providing a means of identification for registered real estate professionals.

Salespersons and brokers are expected to carry a printed card or use the MyRECO Certificate app that allows them to show their certificate on a mobile device, when requested.

Property management often request to see a certificate before allowing a salesperson and buyers access to view a property. Many residential buildings use the certificate as a security measure to verify that visitors to the unit are who they claim to be.

The Certificate of Registration also means you can rest assured your real estate rep meets the established standards for being registered and the protections that come along with that, including education and insurance.

Every real estate professional in Ontario must complete a specific education before they can become registered to trade in real estate. They must also complete additional courses every two years to keep their knowledge up-to-date.

They are also required to uphold professional standards of conduct and ethics with an emphasis on fairness, honesty and integrity. They must follow rules and regulations under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 that protect Ontario home buyers and sellers.

Registered salespersons and brokers are also held accountable for their actions in real estate transactions. In the instance that something goes wrong, RECO offers a complaint and discipline process designed to protect consumers.

Finally, as a condition of registration, all salespersons and brokers are required to have insurance coverage that protects both consumers and industry professionals, with payments held in trust and insured against loss, insolvency or misappropriation by a brokerage. Errors and Omissions Insurance provides an added layer of protection where damages and legal costs arise from errors, omissions and negligent acts that may occur while trading in real estate.

Another way to confirm a real estate professional’s registration is by visiting www.reco.on.ca and clicking on the Real Estate Professional Search bar.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

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.

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