Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. to End Self-Regulation of Real Estate Industry after Critical Report

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. to End Self-Regulation of Real Estate Industry after Critical Report

Article excerpt

B.C. ends self-regulation of real estate industry

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VANCOUVER - British Columbia's real estate industry no longer deserves the privilege of self-regulation and will have that authority stripped away, Premier Christy Clark announced after a damning report concluded the sector had lost the public trust.

Clark said Wednesday the province will hire a new superintendent of real estate, who will take over the rule-making, oversight and disciplinary powers that have been held by the Real Estate Council of B.C. since 2005.

"The real estate sector has had 10 years to get it right on self-regulation and they haven't," Clark told a news conference. "So we are going to end the right of the real estate sector to self-regulate."

The announcement comes a day after an independent advisory group tasked with restoring consumer confidence in the industry released a report with 28 recommendations, including hefty fines for misconduct.

The report did not make a recommendation on self-regulation, but it said such a regime works when members of the profession hold themselves and each other to a higher standard than anyone else.

"Each member of a self-regulating industry needs to be part of the compliance regime and report misconduct promptly," it said. "The independent advisory group found this culture is lacking in the real estate industry."

Clark said the report showed self-regulation of the industry must end because consumers are being put at risk and the reputations of honest agents are being tarnished.

She said the government will take immediate action on all the recommendations, including prohibiting a single agent from acting for both the buyer and seller in a transaction and raising maximum fines to $250,000 for individual Realtors and $500,000 for brokerages.

The province will also revamp the industry-funded real estate council and replace 50 per cent its members with people from outside of the industry.

The council said in a statement that it is "ready, willing and able" to work with the government to implement the steps announced Wednesday. …

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