New Rules: June 15th is approaching… will you be ready?

Most REALTORS® are aware of what’s coming, but it might surprise you to hear that we still hear from members who are unaware of the significant Rule changes coming on June 15. The Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) and BCREA have been sending regular updates regarding the new Rules being implemented by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE).

Here’s a brief recap, including details regarding our Board’s involvement.

Staying informed

RECBC is responsible for this implementation, which is why you and every licensee in BC are receiving weekly updates and news bulletins from Council. They include the most up-to-date information about what’s in store for licensees and consumers on June 15: how the Rules need to be interpreted, how day-to-day business will change including new forms, education and penalties for not adhering. We strongly encourage you to read their communications and submit any questions you may have using their online form.

BCREA is your advocate and voice provincially.  BCREA is analyzing the proposed changes and is currently eliciting feedback from members and boards and is communicating that feedback to Council, the OSRE, the Ministry of Finance and the general public.

Our role is two-fold: work with BCREA and advocate on your behalf and keep members informed of the big picture: key dates, what Council and BCREA are doing and how you can participate. We’re doing everything we can to help our members prepare for the implementation. When we have specifics, we’ll offer tips, training and support.

Noteworthy Rule changes first introduced November 2017

On November 8, 2017, a number of new Rules were introduced by the OSRE, to be implemented by the RECBC. These Rules come into effect on June 15, 2018 and followed a consultation process which the FVREB participated in.

The Rules address administrative penalties, disclosure of remuneration, disclosure of agency and the end of dual agency (except in remote locations).

As details on how these Rules would be implemented by RECBC were made available, FVREB raised concerns regarding the interpretations by RECBC around dual agency and conflict of interest (double recusal), as well as the timing of the implementation. This was expressed in a letter to the OSRE and RECBC and through a call-to-action of members across BC.

At the same time, a steering group was formed with other BC Boards and BCREA to help develop a plan of action and key messages for advocacy work, to ensure we were in sync across BC. We were ultimately successful in extending the implementation deadline (from March to June) and the OSRE agreed to provide clarity around dual agency.

Further Rules proposed in March 2018

On March 21, proposed new Rules were introduced by OSRE for a consultative review process, which is open until April 20. These proposed Rules have dealt with the double recusal concerns and also include new Rules around English language proficiency, training of licensees and disclosure of remuneration.

We strongly encourage members to review these proposed changes and provide feedback though an OSRE survey.

BCREA is asking that members copy them on any input sent to OSRE.

In addition, as part of the consultation process, BCREA requested boards hold focus groups to help identify member concerns. We held a focus group with five participants including four senior managing brokers and an experienced commercial member. That feedback, shared with BCREA, included the following comments:

  • Clients should be made aware of what would happen in the event of a conflict of interest (when a REALTOR® is representing more than one party involved in a transaction), so that if/when it happens, they are not surprised. Waiting until the conflict actually happens to gain consent (per the proposed Rules) is leaving things far too late in the process.
  • The proposed frequency of the disclosure of remuneration is far too demanding on an administrative level, has the potential to introduce manual error and may be seen by clients as opportunities to renegotiate the commission or payment to the licensee. We suggest making the disclosure only on offers the seller is serious about.
  • Education on new and existing Rules is critical, and should be made available and be completed by the vast majority of licensees prior to any new Rules coming into effect.
  • We are supportive of the more robust English language proficiency requirements as well as the introduction of administrative penalties should licensees not meet their education requirements.

The key resource for all information pertaining to the new Rules is Council’s website including a robust FAQ page.

For tips on how you can prepare before the new Rules come into effect on June 15, read our NewsReal article Spring into shape before the rules change.