The Dirt on DORTS: What you need to know about the new disclosure Rule

by Paul Cowhig, Advisor, Professional Standards

From what I’ve been hearing, a lot of our members are pretty confused and torn up about having to present a 4-page Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services (DORTS) form every time someone wants to talk real estate.

On the face of it, it may seem awkward, silly and unnecessary. And it is, because that is not actually what the disclosure Rule says.

Let’s clear things up about what the Rule actually says, and how and when the disclosure is supposed to be handled.

First of all, this is not a change in what we are supposed to be doing. Below is from CREA’s Standards of Business Practices and it’s not new;

2. Disclosure of Role – Agency  –  ARTICLE INTERPRETATION

A REALTOR® shall fully disclose in writing to, and is advised to seek written acknowledgement from, his or her Clients and those Customers who are not represented by other Registrants regarding the role and nature of the service the REALTOR® will be providing. This disclosure shall be made at the earliest possible opportunity and in any event prior to the REALTOR® providing professional services which go beyond providing information as a result of incidental contact by a consumer.

Before June 15th we used the Working With a REALTOR® Brochure to accomplish this. So when did you get the WWRB filled out? In most cases probably too late to have complied with the Rule.

With Buyers many of us finally got around to filling out the WWRB if and when we wrote a Contract of Purchase and Sale. If you use a Buyer Agency Contract you probably did it at that time, as you likely did with a Listing Contract, which would be more appropriate, at the very beginning of your relationship.

The Council change now is a push for us to make that disclosure about agency representation when we are actually supposed to – before providing any trading services – and now that means having to use the new Council form, Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services (DORTS).

Think about the last time you held an Open House or took an inquiry by phone. We know that around 90 per cent of the people that come to an open house or give you a call are NOT going to become your client or buy that listing, and so will not require a DORTS. You’re simply going to provide them with general information.

Secondly, let’s be honest. Your primary  job at an open house may be to sell that property, but you’re also prospecting for new clients among those people who wander in and are genuinely interested and able to purchase a home (but not this listing), or list one, through you.

That is the magic goal line that then you’re required to show them the DORTS.

When you go beyond just giving information.

That moment when you say to yourself, “This person isn’t going to buy this home but they are going to buy something and I want them to work with me,”  is when you need to comply with your  obligation to make the DORTS form as the starting point in pursuing that person as a client.

This is straight from Council:

You do NOT need to make the DORTS disclosure if you are only:

  • hosting an open house, or
  • answering general questions, provided you don’t exchange information with a consumer about their motivation, financial qualifications or real estate needs.

Council has listed the factors that if present require the Realtor to use the DORTS form, as follows, with the exception of showing open houses:

Make this disclosure to a consumer before providing any trading services, including:

(a) advising on the appropriate price for the real estate;
(b) making representations about the real estate (except for open house showings)
(c) finding the real estate for a party to acquire;
(d) finding a party to acquire the real estate;
(e) showing the real estate (except for open house showings)
(f) negotiating the price of the real estate or the terms of the trade in real estate;
(g) presenting offers to dispose of or acquire the real estate;
(h) receiving deposit money paid in respect of the real estate.

Let me know what you think about DORTS and your experience using it. Email me at