In B.C., a single realtor can currently represent both buyer and seller on a home sale.
It’s an arrangement that will end in March, as part of a slate of new rules that B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) introduced on Wednesday.
Coverage of Vancouver real estate on Globalnews.ca:
The rules ban what’s called a “dual agency” deal, in which a realtor acts on behalf of the homebuyer and the seller at the same time.
B.C. will be the first province in Canada to ban the practice, when the rules come into effect on March 15, 2018, according to OSRE.
The rules will also require real estate licensees to inform customers about the responsibilities they owe to their clients, as well as”unrepresented parties” before they work together.
“The problem with dual agency is that it creates a potential for abuse and a potential for a conflict of interest and so I believe it’s in the best interests of consumers to prohibit it,” Micheal Noseworthy, the superintendent of real estate, told Global News.
The rules are enjoying a mixed reception within the housing industry.
“We welcome the changes and we hope to continue to be able to advise council on things of how it transpires for the public as well as for the members,” said Jill Oudil, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
But just because the rules are in place doesn’t that realtors won’t be able to find a way around them.
“I could potentially be a realtor and have the opportunity to have a partner in my same office and potentially could look after a buyer of one of my listings,” said Brian Rushton, executive vice-president of Century 21 Canada.
“I think maybe there’s some provisions they haven’t looked at yet.”
The rules come after concerns were raised about how “dual agency” creates a “conflict of interest” in home sales, according to realtor Steve Saretsky.
“How do you represent both parties completely neutral,” he told CKNW in September.
“I think that’s where we were seeing a lot of issues.”