Governing board looking to protect consumers
As you may or may not be aware, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) is implementing some new regulations. Starting March 15, 2018, Realtors will no longer be able to represent both a buyer and a seller at the same time in a single transaction.
The RECBC is the provincial governing board that licenses Realtors and regulates real estate in the public interest. Among their duties is the enforcement of standards of conduct, investigation of complaints and implementation of regulations that ensure the public is well served by BC Realtors.
I know there has been some confusion as to what dual agency is and why these rules are being implemented, so I’m passing along this information from the RECBC website that I found useful:
The Superintendent of Real Estate has created new Rules that generally prohibit the practice of dual agency, except in the rarest of circumstances. Dual agency refers to when a licensee represents, in a single transaction, two or more clients whose interests are in conflict. For example, a property seller and a prospective buyer for that property.
Why has dual agency been restricted?
The practice of limited dual agency raised a number of concerns for consumers, including that:
- a licensee may not be able to be completely loyal and impartial to two clients with competing interests
- a licensee may not be able to properly advise those clients without improperly disclosing their confidential information to each other
- a licensee acting as a dual agent might prioritize his or her own interest in earning the whole commission, rather than acting in the best interest of his or her clients.
For these reasons, an Independent Advisory Group on real estate regulation in BC recommended that limited dual agency be banned in BC. Now, the Superintendent of Real Estate has created a Rule restricting limited dual agency (except in very limited circumstances).
So, what does this change mean to buyers and sellers?
If you have a Realtor you’ve been working with to buy a home and you notice that they have a listing of a property you’re interested in, they will no longer be able to act as your representative as a buyer.
Because of the new prohibition on limited dual agency, the licensee you’ve been working with can’t continue to act for you. However, you can choose a different Realtor to represent you going forward. Your licensee can suggest other licensees who will be able to assist you.
In locales where there are several licensed Realtors to choose from, this likely won’t have significant impact on buyers and sellers.
As noted, these changes are for the protection of the consumer. And although there may be an adjustment period throughout the province, the goal is to protect the public, which all Realtors can stand behind.
If you have any further queries regarding the new regulations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I’m available to discuss any aspect of buying, selling or moving in the Comox Valley and beyond. Please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page if you want to have your real estate questions answered.