What does RECO do?
This is a question I get asked from time to time, and I always appreciate the opportunity to let people know how RECO protects consumers.
RECO is an acronym for the Real Estate Council of Ontario. Our organization was established by the government of Ontario to administer the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), which is the law that governs those trading in real estate in Ontario.
With some exceptions, the law requires anyone trading in real estate to be registered with RECO as a salesperson or a broker, and to offer their services only through a brokerage — also to be registered with RECO. Our website allows you to check to see if your agent and brokerage are registered and in good standing.
We want consumers to understand that working with a real estate agent can be of real benefit when making what, in many instances, will be the largest investment of a person’s life.
We also aim to educate consumers through public channels, such as our website, social media, news releases, public events and through my regular Star column.
We set the education standards for real estate agents in Ontario. Our courses are mandatory for those aspiring to become real estate agents, and also for those already registered to continue to develop through our mandatory continuing education program and other programs.
And finally, we have the authority to deal with complaints about the conduct of real estate agents and brokerages.
Anyone trading in real estate must comply with REBBA, which contains a code of ethics for those registered to trade. If we receive a complaint about a salesperson, broker or brokerage, we will investigate and take appropriate action, which could include prosecution through our discipline committee or the Ontario Court of Justice or, for the most serious cases, proceedings for the suspension or revocation of a registration before the Licence Appeal Tribunal.
You may be interested to know that RECO is one of 13 consumer-protection “delegated administrative authorities” in Ontario that regulate providers of a particular industry that touch many of our daily lives.
Some of the other authorities include: the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO); the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC); the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA); the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA); the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA); the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO); the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA); and Tarion, which administers the warranties and protections for owners and purchasers of new homes.
Protecting consumers is the core mandate of each of these organizations. At RECO, our mission is to promote a fair, safe and informed real estate market for consumers in Ontario through effective and innovative regulation of the services offered by those who trade in real estate.
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.