FVREB Brokers give Council feedback hoping for change

The Real Estate Council of BC has been touring the province gathering feedback from managing brokers on the impacts of the new Rules implemented on June 15.

On September 12, it was our turn.

For two hours, nine senior managing brokers from FVREB had an open and constructive discussion with Council’s EO, Erin Seeley, Pamela Skinner, Council’s Director of Education and Licensing and Thomas Taller, a senior director with the Office of the Superintendent (OSRE).

This was Council’s tenth Listening Tour Roundtable to help inform them about how licensees in BC are adapting to the requirements of the new agency and disclosure rules.  Council wants to know: What’s working? What’s not? What are the challenges brokers/licensees are still experiencing? What resources are needed?

Echoing some of the feedback that BCREA has already provided Council (gathered through member surveys and meetings), Fraser Valley brokers shared several suggestions:

  • Some of the forms need to be revised to improve clarity and reduce redundancies.
  • More consumer education around the Rule changes is needed.
  • Licensees and brokers need more support from Council, including quicker and more consistent responses to questions rather than advising us to seek independent legal advice.
  • Too many changes were introduced too quickly. They asked that for next round of changes, please get Broker input early, provide member educational resources sooner, train brokers first and roll out the changes more slowly.
  • These Rule changes are particularly challenging for teams and for commercial practitioners – these business models/specializations need to be addressed.
  • There have been unintended consequences from the new Rules that are NOT best serving consumers i.e. overwhelming/intimidating buyers with the non-contractual Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services (DORTS) form.
  • We need more licensees to be appointed to serve on Council.

Currently, there are only two licensees serving on Council, FVREB members Sukh Sidhu and Gerry Martin, who also attended this FVREB roundtable to listen and gather feedback in advance of their next Council meeting.  Council EO, Erin Seeley reiterated that Council members are publicly appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and that she remains hopeful that future appointments will reflect more industry expertise.

In addition to giving feedback based on what they’ve heard from members, Brokers made a few requests of their own specific to their added responsibilities as office managers.

  • They would appreciate it if Council could provide them with training materials for the new Rules that managers could use at their sales meetings.
  • Brokers are also looking to Council to offer recommendations of best practices regarding the new requirements to file and store all the new disclosure forms and DORTS.
  • And finally, they’d find it very helpful to know who in their office has taken the Rule Changes: Agency and Disclosure course.

Pamela Skinner, Council’s head of education, indicated that there are privacy considerations limiting who can access education records, but she did share that out of the 26,000 licensees in BC, 9,307 have registered for the Rule Changes course with 8,689 having completed it.  She commented that although a 33% completion rate isn’t what they hoped, more concerning to Council, is the statistic that less than 50% of managing brokers have taken the course.

In response to the FVREB feedback, the Council and OSRE leaders shared that they heard similar responses during many of the roundtables and that clearly, there are common themes no matter where licensees are practicing.

Both Seeley and Thomas Taller (OSRE) made assurances that they are listening and assured attendees:

  • The new forms will be revised and streamlined
  • Consumer education is needed and is coming
  • No additional Rules are coming in the near future – first, the OSRE wants to examine the entire regulatory framework with a goal to issue a white paper next summer.

Council will wrap up its roundtables by the end of September. In addition to meeting with managing brokers around the province, it’s consulting with other industry stakeholder groups and is surveying licensees and consumers.  The feedback is to be included in Council’s 90-Day Implementation Report, requested by the OSRE and due by late 2018. The report will be available to all licensees and to the public.