consumer protection

Province strengthens consumer protection with new rules: OREA

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ontario realtors are happy with the Government of Ontario’s decision to introduce real estate legislation that, if passed, will implement North America-leading rules governing how real estate professionals can represent consumers. Ontario has proposed a Mandatory Designated Representation (MDR) model, which will tackle conflict of interest situations and consumer confusion that can be caused by the current multiple representation system.

“These new rules are some of the strictest in North America when it comes to transparency and consumer protection,” said David Reid, Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) president-elect, in a press release. “Ontario realtors were pleased to work with the government to bring more clarity of a realtors’ duties to the consumer and address any real or perceived conflict of interest.”

The MDR model will set a North American leading standard for greater transparency, enhanced clarity of realtors’ duties and obligations and more stringent consumer protection.

Ontario has also committed to allow consumers to work with a realtor of their choosing as an impartial transaction facilitator under a strict set of rules. This model would only apply if both clients involved in the transaction consented to the use of a facilitator in writing. Consent would come through with a simple, plain language document that clearly outlines the duties and obligations of the realtor to the consumer, and features much higher fines for realtors that break the rules.

“A big part of a realtor’s job is to act as a facilitator, bringing a willing buyer and seller to the table to find a win-win solution,” said Tim Hudak, OREA CEO. “Where a realtor is acting as a facilitator, the government’s proposal will ensure a high level of transparency and consumer protection.”

The proposed legislation would also double fines for breaches of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, (REBBA) Code of Ethics and mandate new disclosures in real estate forms, both of which the OREA supported as part of Ontario’s REBBA review process.

“Right now, too often fines amount to a mere slap on the wrist,” added Hudak. “Ontario needs much stronger deterrents for unethical behaviour and a regulator that isn’t afraid to throw the book at the small number of rule breakers.”

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