Proposed Real Estate Changes Result in Ban of Dual Agency

Earlier this month the provincial government’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate published proposed rule changes to the Real Estate Services Act (the “Act”) that would affect a real estate licensee’s ability to represent a buyer and seller at the same time, a concept known as dual agency. Dual agency occurs when a real estate licensee acts for more than one party in a real estate transaction. This can include a buyer and a seller, lessor and lessee, assignor and assignee or two or more buyers, lessees or assignees. Essentially, the realtor acts on both sides of a real estate transaction.

Currently, a licensee is able to represent parties on both sides of a real estate transaction. The proposed changes to the Act would prohibit this practice.

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate is a regulatory agency of the provincial government that protects consumers who are buying, selling or renting a home. The Office carries out the duties of the Superintendent of Real Estate. The Office’s government website provided the following statement regarding the changes:

“The new rules address several of the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on real estate regulation in B.C. and aim to enhance consumer protection through a number of mandatory changes to licensee conduct and practices. Key rule changes include prohibiting the practice of dual agency, except in remote and under-served locations, and enhancing consumer education and awareness by increasing mandatory licensee disclosures regarding representation and remuneration.”

A proposed exception to the ban on dual agency would be if the real estate transaction occurs in a remote area of the province with limited access to realtors. The proposed changes have not defined what is considered to be “remote”.

The proposed rule changes would take effect on January 15, 2018.

For details on the exact wording of the proposed changes click here.

This is provided as commentary ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. Patrick Bobyn is an associate at Pushor Mitchell LLP who practices in the area of Real Estate, Business Law and Wills/Estates. You can reach Patrick at 250-869-1286 or [email protected] if you have questions regarding the proposed Real Estate changes or real estate transactions in general.

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