Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Stop Real Estate Agents from 'Double-Ending' (Toronto Star)

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Stop Real Estate Agents from 'Double-Ending' (Toronto Star)

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Stop real estate agents from 'double-ending'

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published July 4:

Stop real estate agents from 'double-ending'

Real-estate agents can't fairly represent both a seller and a buyer on the same deal. The conflicts of interest are numerous -- and one client or the other will often get hurt by receiving too little or paying too much. Yet these so-called double-ended deals are commonplace in Toronto's red-hot real estate market. By some estimates one in 10 sales falls into this dubious category.

That's why it's welcome news that the Ontario government is proposing banning double-ending, except in limited circumstances, and is currently seeking public input into the proposed rule change.

It's a long overdue rethink of a practice that is so fraught with conflicts that even the Ontario Real Estate Association, which represents brokers and salespeople, says it is problematic. That association has asked the province for an overhaul of the 2002 provincial rules and code of ethics that govern real estate practices, including double-ending.

Ontario wouldn't be stepping out on a limb by prohibiting these deals. It's already been done in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

No wonder.

Start with the most obvious point of conflict: the vendor wants the highest price while the buyer wants to pay the lowest. Whose interests is the real estate agent representing?

As the province's proposal points out: "These competing interests may make it challenging for registrants involved in these types of transactions to meet their obligations to their clients or to be able to advocate effectively on behalf of either party."

Moreover, the real estate agent may shut out offers that compete with his potential buyer's bid, meaning a loss of profit for the seller. …

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