News & Notices from the Superintendent of Real Estate

The latest news items and announcements from the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate.

 

November 5, 2018 - Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register (CSAIR)

The government has released regulations that create the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register in accordance with changes made to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act earlier in 2018. Effective January 1, 2019, developers who market residential strata lots for sale or long-term lease must:
 

  • collect information about assignments of purchase agreements, including key terms of each assignment agreement and the name and social insurance number or business information of the parties to the assignment;
  • include terms and a notice in their purchase agreements and disclosure statements to inform purchasers of the new collection and reporting requirements; and
  • report this information through the online Condo and Strata Assignment  Integrity Register operated by the Land Title and Survey Authority for the Property Taxation Branch.

Developers will be required to report this information on a quarterly basis.  Reported information will be kept confidential and shared with other agencies, including the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate and the Canada Revenue Agency, to ensure assignment transactions are reported and the appropriate taxes assessed. 

Please see the following for additional information on the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register:

In addition to the changes announced today, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate is seeking public and industry comment on a new draft policy statement regarding consumer disclosure requirements with respect to assignments of purchase agreements.  View Real Estate Consultations for more information.

 

June 14, 2018 – New real estate rules protecting home buyers and sellers come into force

VANCOUVER New rules approved by the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) to enhance consumer protection in the real estate industry come into effect June 15th. The rules will be enforced by the Real Estate Council of B.C. and they will ensure that consumers have better information to make informed decisions, and that professionals act with undivided loyalty to serve their clients’ best interests.

Among other things, these rules will:

  • Increase transparency around commissions and who a licensee is representing in a transaction; and
  • Prohibit dual agency, except in limited circumstances.

"These changes have been designed to reinforce a real estate agent’s duties and obligations to their clients and to ensure that agents are always acting in their client’s best interests," said Micheal Noseworthy, British Columbia’s Superintendent of Real Estate. "Consumers need these protections as purchasing a home is likely to be the single largest financial commitment a consumer will ever make in their lifetime. We want to make sure that the advice consumers receive is solely for their benefit and that consumers have confidence that their agent is undoubtedly on their side."

"The rules will help to foster a more professional and ethical real estate industry in B.C., with better protection for consumers. Every home buyer and seller deserves certainty that the real estate agent representing them is focused on achieving their goals," said Robert Holmes, Chair of the Real Estate Council of B.C. "With these new rules, B.C. consumers can be confident of receiving clear information to help them make informed decisions, and of getting the representation they need to safely navigate real estate transactions."

This significant package of reforms builds on the recommendations made in the final report of the Independent Advisory Group on Real Estate Regulation in British Columbia (IAG) in June 2016. The rules, made by the Superintendent of Real Estate, are the product of extensive consultation with industry, feedback received from real estate licensees and the public. OSRE continues to work on implementing other recommendations made by the IAG and is committed to engaging licensees and the public on these important reforms.

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia, as the regulator of licensed real estate professionals, is responsible for educating real estate professionals about the requirements and enforcing compliance under the new rules.

Media Contacts

Mykle Ludvigsen
Manager, Communications | Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate
604 314-2457 | Mykle.Ludvigsen@gov.bc.ca

Marilee Peters
Manager, Communications | Real Estate Council of BC
778 783-4054 | mediacontact@recbc.ca

Backgrounder

Overview of changes to Real Estate Rules

The changes to the rules coming into effect June 15 will impact the way real estate professionals provide services to consumers.

  • Real estate professionals are banned from practicing dual agency (representing both sides of the same deal, e.g. a buyer and seller or two buyers).
  • An exemption to the ban has been established for remote locations underserved by real estate professionals, where it is not feasible for parties to a trade to be represented by separate real estate agents.
  • Real estate professionals are required to give consumers more information about the services they can expect, the fees/benefits brokerages may earn from the sale, risks they should be aware of and where to go if they have a complaint.

Increased consumer protection

The changes to the rules are intended to enhance consumer protection by:

  • Giving home buyers and sellers the assurance that their real estate professional is entirely focused on their interests.
  • Providing consumers with more complete and easier to understand information about the services to expect from a real estate professional, and the benefits of representation.
  • Giving property sellers information, with each offer to purchase they receive, about the amount a brokerage would earn from the sale of their property.
  • Fostering a more professional and ethical real estate industry in B.C.

New mandatory disclosures for consumers

There are five new mandatory forms that, depending on the situation, real estate professionals are required to use when working with consumers.

  1. The Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services must be given to consumers before real estate professionals begin working with them, explaining the duties and responsibilities owed to clients and unrepresented parties.
  2. The Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties must be given to consumers to explain the risks of dealing with a real estate professional who represents another party to the transaction.
  3. The Disclosure to Sellers of Expected Remuneration must be given to sellers with each offer, explaining how the commission will be shared between the seller's brokerage and the buyer's brokerage.
  4. The Disclosure of Risks Associated with Dual Agency must be given to consumers in the rare cases of dual agency, explaining the risks of dual agency and how it benefits real estate professionals.
  5. The Agreement Regarding Conflicts of Interest Between Clients can be used when a conflict of interest exists between two current clients of the same real estate professional, where continuing to act for both of them would amount to dual agency.

Preparing real estate professionals

Since the Rules were first announced in November 2017, the Real Estate Council has developed a diverse array of resources and educational materials to prepare real estate professionals for the changes, including:

  • A dedicated website with a compendium of articles, videos, FAQs and other educational resources designed to help real estate professionals comply with the new rules
  • A monthly series of live webinars for managing brokers
  • Weekly e-newsletters distributed to all 25,000 licensees in the province

A mandatory continuing education course focused on the changes to the Rules was introduced in May. The course, developed in collaboration with UBC's Sauder School of Business, must be completed before real estate professionals can renew their licences.

 

April 27, 2018 – Superintendent of Real Estate approves further amendments to the Real Estate Rules

The Superintendent of Real Estate has approved amendments to the Real Estate Rules. The approved rule amendments:

  • incorporate the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's English language proficiency requirements for new applicants into the Rules;
  • require that new remuneration disclosures to sellers include a dollar amount; and
  • create new rules to address conflicts of interest where a licensee finds themselves potentially working with multiple parties that would constitute dual agency.

These new rules are complementary to rules made on November 8, 2017 that will prohibit dual agency and enhance consumer disclosure. The rules come into effect on June 15, 2018, with the exception of the English language proficiency rule, which comes into effect immediately.

Rule amendments that would have created a new requirement for licensees to complete continuing professional education courses, and designating the first continuing professional education course to be completed by trading services and rental property management licensees, were not adopted. Instead, the Superintendent is supportive of the Real Estate Council’s decision to mandate that all trading services and rental property management licensees must, as part of their Re-licensing Education Requirements, complete the UBC Sauder School of Business, Real Estate Division "Rule Changes: Agency and Disclosure" course prior to being re-licensed. This ensures that licensees will still receive education on the new rules while being responsive to feedback received during the consultation on the proposed continuing professional education rule.

These rules were published for a 30-day public comment period, which closed on April 20, 2018. A summary report is available with the results of this feedback:
 

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) is a regulatory agency of the B.C. government that carries out the regulatory, oversight and enforcement duties of the Superintendent of Real Estate. OSRE receives its statutory authority from the Real Estate Services Act, the Real Estate Development Marketing Act and the Strata Property Act.

 

March 21, 2018 – Superintendent of Real Estate seeking feedback on proposed new rules for real estate industry

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) has published amendments to the Real Estate Rules for feedback. These new rules are complementary to rules made on November 8, 2017 (PDF) that would prohibit dual agency and enhance consumer disclosure. These rule amendments would:
 

  • incorporate the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's English language proficiency requirement for new applicants into the Rules;
  • create a new requirement for licensees to complete continuing professional education courses from time to time, typically when significant new rules are introduced;
  • designate the first continuing professional education course to be completed by trading services and rental property management licensees;
  • mandate that new remuneration disclosures include a dollar amount; and,
  • create new rules to address conflicts of interest where a licensee finds themselves potentially working with multiple parties that would constitute dual agency.

View a copy of the annotated draft rules (PDF).

Please review the proposed changes and provide feedback. The consultation period closes on April 20, 2018 at 6:00 pm.

 

February 14, 2018 – Important Update on Superintendent's Rule Changes

In November 2017, the Superintendent of Real Estate approved new rules to come into force on March 15, 2018. The new rules focus on two major areas:

  • prohibiting the practice of dual agency, except in remote and under-served locations, and
  • enhancing consumer education and awareness by increasing mandatory licensee disclosures regarding representation and remuneration.

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) is aware of the considerable concern from industry surrounding the implementation of the new rules and the impending implementation date. We are listening and are committed to ensuring a successful implementation of the new rules and ensuring that licensees have necessary information regarding the rules before they come into force. To this end, we would like to provide licensees with the following update.

1. Date Change

New rules related to dual agency and enhanced consumer disclosures will now come into force June 15, 2018

While the Real Estate Council has been working diligently to implement the new rules, it is clear that additional time would ensure a more successful roll out of the upcoming changes. Therefore, the Superintendent is amending the effective date of the rules related to dual agency and consumer disclosures from March 15, 2018 to June 15, 2018. This will allow education on the new rules to be in place prior to their coming into force.

2. Education for Licensees and Clarification of Rule Intent

In addition to the change in implementation date, OSRE intends to publish a package of rules for consultation in the coming weeks to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure stability within the industry.

Clarity to licensees on how to handle conflicts of interests involving clients

Licensees require clarity on how conflicts of interest related to client representation must be addressed. In ending dual agency, it was OSRE's intent that a licensee be able to continue to work with only one party to the trade in real estate where there is a conflict relating to client representation – as long as they receive consent from all parties involved in the transaction. A new rule will be drafted to support this approach, which will strengthen consumer protection.

Continuing professional education for licensees

We will be proposing a new rule to ensure licensees receive continuing professional education related to significant new rule changes and as other circumstances arise when it is in the public and professional interest to do so. The first course established under this rule is currently being developed by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia. Council has advised us that this course will be available this spring.

Additional Rules

Language proficiency requirements and disclosure of remuneration to sellers

In addition to the significant changes identified above, the new rule package will enshrine the Real Estate Council’s English language proficiency requirements into the rules and will provide clarification that the 5-11.1 disclosure of remuneration to sellers must include dollar amounts.


The proposed rules will be posted for a 30-day public consultation in the coming weeks on the OSRE website at gov.bc.ca/OSRE. Licensees will be notified directly when the consultation is open.

As a regulator working in the public interest, protecting consumers is OSRE's top priority and is at the core of our mandate. The rules related to dual agency and enhanced consumer disclosures were written with this consumer protection focus, and with specific intent. The measures we are taking today will help ensure they are interpreted and implemented in a manner that reflects this intent.

 

November 15, 2017 – Superintendent of Real Estate approves new rules to strengthen consumer protections when working with real estate licensees

VANCOUVER – The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) is introducing new rules to improve consumer protection in the real estate industry. These rules will:

  • Require enhanced disclosure of real estate licensee remuneration that will inform consumers about how remuneration is to be divided between a listing brokerage and cooperating brokerage.
  • Ensure licensees inform consumers of the duties and responsibilities owed to both clients and unrepresented parties before working with consumers.
  • Warn consumers of the risks of relying on a licensee to provide limited assistance if the licensee already represents another party to the transaction.
  • Prohibit* "dual agency," the practice of acting on behalf of both the buyer and seller on the same deal. This makes B.C. the first province in Canada to prohibit the practice.

The new rules will come into force beginning March 15, 2018.

"These rules will significantly change the way that real estate services are provided in British Columbia," said Micheal Noseworthy, B.C.’s Superintendent of Real Estate. "The changes will empower consumers and provide clarity around the role of an agent. Ending dual agency removes the potential for conflict and serious problems. We want to create transparency for both consumers and licensees to ensure everyone understands in whose interest licensees must be working."

These new rules originate from the recommendations made in the final report of the Independent Advisory Group on Real Estate Regulation in B.C. in June 2016. These rules are the product of extensive consultation with industry, feedback received from real estate licensees and the public, as well as from the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC).

A consultation on these rules was completed on October 6, 2017 after OSRE posted a draft version of the proposed rules for a 30-day public comment period on September 6, 2017. OSRE received strong support from the public on all proposed rules.

The feedback received from licensees indicated a strong desire for education on the new rules, something strongly supported by both OSRE and RECBC. The Superintendent will require licensees to complete education relating to the new rules and intends to publish a rule for feedback in the coming weeks to support this requirement.
 

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) is a regulatory agency of the B.C. government that carries out the regulatory, oversight and enforcement duties of the Superintendent of Real Estate. It receives its authority from the Real Estate Services Act, the Real Estate Development Marketing Act and the Strata Property Act.

* The Rules will also provide for a small exemption to the dual agency prohibition in situations where a particular property is so remote as to make finding another agent extremely difficult. Strict reporting requirements will apply in these circumstances.

0981478 B.C. Ltd., whose sole director is Mark Chandler, is the developer of the 92-unit Murrayville House development in Langley. On October 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of British Columbia appointed The Bowra Group Inc. as the receiver of 0981478 B.C. Ltd. The receiver is now responsible for any marketing of Murrayville House in compliance with the terms of its appointment by the court and with the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA) that is administered by the Superintendent of Real Estate.

Under REDMA, a receiver is required to file a new disclosure statement and provide it to purchasers. REDMA provides purchasers with a right to rescind the purchase within seven days of receiving an opportunity to read the disclosure statement, and requires deposits paid by purchasers to be held in trust by a lawyer, notary public or licensed real estate brokerage.

Prior to the receivership, the Superintendent of Real Estate issued a cease marketing order to 0981478 B.C. Ltd. on September 8, 2017, and that order remains in force. As explained above, only the receiver may market Murrayville House subject to the requirements of REDMA and the court.

More information

Purchasers should seek professional advice

  • Purchasers at Murrayville House should contact a lawyer to fully understand their legal rights and remedies with respect to their purchase agreements, claims by other purchasers, claims by lenders and other creditors, the treatment of deposit monies, the Real Estate Development Marketing Act, and any other relevant legal matters.
  • Purchasers should also consult any licensed real estate broker assisting with the purchase.

Purchasers are invited to contact OSRE

  • Purchasers at Murrayville House who have not already contacted the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate are invited to do so. The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate may be contacted at:

VANCOUVER – 0981478 B.C. Ltd., with Mark Chandler as its sole director, has been served with a cease marketing order as developer of the 92-unit Murrayville House development in Langley. The order was made on an urgent basis by Superintendent of Real Estate Micheal Noseworthy Friday, September 8, determining that the developer was non-compliant with the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA), and that it was in the public interest to make the order urgently without a hearing. Conditions in the order include:

  • filing a new disclosure statement for all units that includes all material facts without any misrepresentation; and
  • placing all deposit funds in a trust account held by a trustee.

The order remains in force until all conditions are met. The developer may require a hearing by the Superintendent or appeal the order to the Financial Services Tribunal. A copy of the full order is available from the Real Estate Development Marketing Enforcement Action website.

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) is a regulatory agency of the B.C. government that carries out the regulatory, oversight and enforcement duties of the Superintendent of Real Estate. It receives its authority from the Real Estate Services Act, the Real Estate Development Marketing Act and the Strata Property Act.

A B.C.-registered company and two B.C. residents have been ordered to stop providing unlicensed real estate services by the Superintendent of Real Estate for British Columbia, and two real estate licensees have received suspensions and maximum fines from the Real Estate Council of British Columbia for facilitating unlicensed activity.

Shangren Vancouver Settlement Service Ltd. and its operators Feng ‘Fanny’ Ni and Xiao Wen ‘Wendy’ Ye have been ordered by the Superintendent to immediately cease providing unlicensed services in B.C. The Superintendent found unlicensed services were provided to purchasers of homes and were facilitated through the use of Chinese-language websites www.vanfun.net and www.vanfun.com. A freeze was ordered on a company bank account for further investigation.

Parties to the Orders may request a hearing before the Superintendent or otherwise appeal the Superintendent’s Orders to the Financial Services Tribunal.

In July 2016, the Real Estate Council issued a related disciplinary order against licensee Xiao Ming ‘Alban’ Wang for facilitating Vanfun’s unlicensed real estate services. Mr. Wang’s real estate licence was suspended for 12 months and he was ordered to pay $10,000.

The Real Estate Council has also taken action against Xin ‘Selena’ Li for encouraging unlicensed activity by providing real estate services and paying referral fees to an unlicensed entity. In August 2016, Ms. Li received a seven-month suspension and was ordered to pay $10,000.