What does the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) do? How does it serve the public?
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is an Administrative Authority that was established by the Government of Ontario in 1997 to regulate the conduct of real estate salespeople, brokers and brokerages. RECO is one of twelve AAs that report to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services; others include the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) and the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority (CMRAO), which provide safeguards for condo owners, and the Tarion Warranty Corporation, which protects buyers who purchase new homes directly from builders.
RECO administers the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), which includes a Code of Ethics that brokerages, salespeople and brokers are required to follow. Individuals and businesses must be registered as salespeople, brokers or brokerages with RECO in order to trade in real estate in Ontario.
One of RECO’s most important duties is addressing inquiries, concerns and complaints about the conduct of its registrants. Real estate salespeople who do not comply with the law may be referred to a RECO Discipline Committee for a hearing, charged with a provincial offence or face proceedings to revoke their registration, depending on the nature and severity of the alleged misconduct. If you believe your salesperson may have acted unethically, you can file a complaint using RECO’s online complaint form, but it’s best to discuss the issue with your salesperson or their brokerage’s Broker of Record before you take that step.
RECO also serves the public interest by:
- Inspecting brokerages periodically to ensure they’re complying with the law;
- Establishing and administering educational requirements for salespeople and brokers;
- Administering an insurance program that includes errors and omissions and consumer deposit protection; and
- Providing helpful buying and selling advice to consumers, so they better understand their rights and responsibilities in a real estate transaction (the Ask Joe column is a great example).
I believe RECO does a great deal to support a fair, safe and informed marketplace, and I’m extremely proud of my colleagues for the work they do, but there are certain responsibilities that fall outside our provincially-legislated role.
RECO can’t get you out of an agreement that you’ve signed with a brokerage or another party, and it doesn’t regulate the conduct of individual buyers or sellers, to give two examples. If a private sale between two consumers falls apart because one party behaves unethically, and no registered salespeople or brokers are involved, RECO has no jurisdiction to take action.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, I strongly recommend working with a registered salesperson or broker. The real estate brokerage industry is regulated and strongly committed to working with RECO to protect consumers.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.