When will Ottawa end blind bidding? Still no timeline for Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights

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Nine months after the federal Liberal government announced plans to end blind bidding and “unfair practices” in the Canadian housing market, there’s still no timeline on when a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights will be tabled in the House of Commons.

The Liberals unveiled plans for the bill of rights in the 2022 federal budget last April in an effort to “make the process of buying a home more open, transparent, and fair,” according to the document.

The proposed bill would include a national plan to end “blind bidding,” a practice in real estate where prospective buyers make bids without a view of competing offers.

Some real estate experts point to the practice as driving inflated home prices, while others defend the process as giving Canadians the right to sell their homes as they see fit.

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Other possible changes under a proposed bill of rights include ensuring the right to an inspection before a deal closes and transparency on previous purchase prices, according to the 2022 budget.

In April, the federal government put aside $5 million over two years for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to explore plans for the bill.

Global News asked for an update on when the bill will be introduced, but a spokesperson for Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen did not provide a specific timeline for the rollout of the Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights.

Instead, the spokesperson reiterated that the government is “committed to engage” with provinces and territories on the development of such a bill, citing its jurisdiction to craft its own rules governing the housing market.

“While the regulation of real estate practices falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, we are committed to doing our part to make the process of buying a home more open, transparent, and fair across the country,” Hussen’s spokesperson said in a statement.

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Hussen’s office said the federal government held meetings twice with provincial and territorial counterparts this past year to discuss housing issues such as the bill of rights.

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“We look forward to building on these fruitful discussions and will provide more information as this work progresses and details become available,” his spokesperson said.

Some provinces have looked at the blind bidding question independently of the federal government. Ontario will make the practice optional for sellers starting April 1, 2023, as part of bigger reform via the Trust in Real Estate Services Act.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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