News & Notices from the Superintendent of Real Estate

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

 

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 BC the 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, BC’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 BC 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 BC.

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.