Premier Christy Clark said B.C.’s real estate industry has lost the right to regulate itself.
“The point of regulation is to protect people,” the premier said at a press conference Tuesday.
“It is not a right. Self-regulation is very much a privilege. It’s granted on behalf of the public by government to professions that say they can do the job and prove they can do the job.”
“The real estate industry has had 10 years to get it right on self-regulation, and they haven’t. We are going to end the right of the real estate sector to self-regulate.”
Her announcement comes a day after the advisory group launched by the Real Estate Council of B.C. called for hefty fines of up to $500,000 for misconduct and measures to end aggressive sales tactics.
Clark said the government accepts the recommendations of the independent advisory group, and will establish a dedicated superintendent of real estate, who will take over the council’s regulation and rule-making authority to carry out the changes required to restore public confidence.
“This was not recommended, necessarily, by the committee. But it is something that the government will act on,” said Clark.
The government also said they would no longer permit licensees to offer dual agency representation, and reconstitute the Real Estate Council with a majority of public-interest, non-industry members.
Today, the NDP called for a task force to fight tax fraud and money laundering in real estate.
“I believe that if the government does not get on this right away, it will continue to erode confidence not just in the real estate sector but, in fact, right across governments,” BC NDP leader John Horgan said.
Real estate agent Niko Lambrinoudis said he thinks “realtors are being used as scapegoats for the rising prices prices in Vancouver real estate.”
Meanwhile, Vancouver city council unanimously approved a motion to tax vacant homes in the city.
The city has set an August 1 deadline on when they want to hear back from the province about whether they want to work with them on a vacancy tax.
WATCH: Vancouver council supports tax on vacant homes