New BC Real Estate Rules – Part 1

This is part one of a multiple part instalment that will summarize the new real estate rules, and what these new rules mean to you as a Buyer and/or Seller of real estate in British Columbia. These new rules for real estate licensees in BC came into effect on June 15, 2018. The objective of these rules is to “enhance consumer protection by:

  • increasing the number and frequency of disclosures that real estate licensees must make to consumers, and
  • in almost all cases, preventing real estate licensees from acting for both a buyer and a seller in the same transaction.”

Now that Limited Dual Agency is all but banned in the Province, explaining to Buyers and Sellers the different forms of representation is first and foremost. Before a Buyer or Seller, receive any real estate advice and prior to you giving any potentially confidential or personal information to the Realtor, that Buyer or Seller must sign a new form.

This first form is called the Disclosure of Representation of Trading Services (replacing the Working With a Realtor form that was previously utilized). This form explains the special legal duties that real estate professionals owe to their clients, and helps a consumer decide whether they wish to be represented by a Realtor as a client, or whether they wish to be an unrepresented party.

In the real estate world, being a client means the Realtor owes you the fiduciary duty of loyalty, to avoid conflicts of interest, to fully disclose relevant information and confidentiality.

Being an unrepresented party means you are not entitled to any of these special legal duties mentioned above. After reading this form, if you decide not to be represented, then there is another form the real estate professional is required to present to you, called the Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties.

The reality is, the real estate professional’s job has now been limited to giving facts on a property or general information rather than opinions or advice without first presenting you with the above form. However, the Buyer or Seller does not have to actually sign this form. For the Realtor presenting the form however, signing is mandatory. For the Buyer and/or Seller who the form is designed to protect– signing is optional.

Are you asking “what’s the point”? Are you confused?

Me too.

The only way to make a change to these new rules is for the public to speak up. If you want the choice of being able to speak freely with a Realtor and receive more than just “how many bedrooms” and “how many bathrooms” a home has without being bogged down in paperwork first – please take a moment and contact MLA: Hon. Carole James Minister of Finance and Michael Noseworthy: The Superintendent of Real Estate: with your thoughts.

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