Real Estate Council Releases Progress Report of Independent Advisory Group
April 12, 2016
Report Points to Strong Measures to Enhance Consumer Protection
A progress report submitted to the Real Estate Council of BC by its Independent Advisory Group includes strong indications that the group is preparing far-reaching recommendations to enhance protection for real estate consumers in BC.
The IAG, chaired by Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers, was launched by the Council in February 2016 in order to make recommendations on ways to enhance consumer protection and strengthen public confidence in the regulation and practices of licensed real estate professionals. The documents released today highlight ten areas in which the group expects to make recommendations, including:
- additional enforcement tools for the Council, such as requiring the reporting of all contract assignments directly to the Council;
- limiting the ability of real estate licensees to represent both buyers and sellers in the same transaction;
- significantly increasing penalties for those who violate the Real Estate Services Act and creating greater flexibility in the types of infractions that are subject to penalty;
- authorizing the Council to require disciplined real estate licensees to disgorge commissions and profits over and above penalties received;
- simplifying the complaint process for consumers by eliminating duplication between the Real Estate Boards and the Council, and increasing transparency;
- ensuring that expectations for managing brokers and the Council's powers to hold managing brokers accountable are sufficient;
- examining business models, such as unregulated ownership structures for brokerages, to ensure they do not weaken the ability of managing brokers or the Council to ensure compliance;
- restructuring the proportion of public and industry members on the Council's governing board to reflect current best practices for governance;
- removing any deterrents that may prevent licensees from reporting misconduct;
- ensuring that resources and services are easily accessible to the public and available in multiple languages.
"We are pleased by the breadth and scope of the topics that are under consideration in the progress report, and by the indications of the strong enhancements to the regulatory framework that the Independent Advisory Group is looking at making," said Council Chair Marylou Leslie. "The Council fully supports the work of the Independent Advisory Group. We are looking forward to receiving the final recommendations and to implementing measures to strengthen consumer protection."
The IAG remains optimistic that despite the complex nature of the issues before it, it can meet the expected deadline of early June to deliver its final report and recommendations.
"Members of the Independent Advisory Group have been focused on the public interest since the beginning of this process," said chair Carolyn Rogers. "While we have not included recommendations in this report, we are very clear on what needs to be done, and I'm confident the final report will meet public expectations of a stronger and more effective regulatory system."
The progress report is now available to the public on the Council's website at http://www.recbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/IAG_AprilReport.pdf and on the website of the Independent Advisory Group at www.advisorygroupbc.ca. Members of the public are invited to submit their comments to the Independent Advisory Group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Estate Council of BC