BC Government, with an election looming on the horizon, sees that skyrocketing home prices and speculators that are driving up the prices is bad news with voters. So it has accepte3d the recommendations of the independent advisory group and will establish a dedicated superintendent of real estate, who will take over the council's regulation- and rule-making authority to carry out the changes required to restore public confidence.
By PD Raj
VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark's government was forced to regulate the real estate industry and overhaul governance, oversight, transparency and accountability of the sector after rampant unethical conduct, with the NDP going as far as calling it rampant fraud.
"After reading the report, our conclusion is that the privilege of self-regulation in the real estate industry must end," Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday in a press release. "This report examines shady practices and challenges plaguing the real estate market, particularly in the Lower Mainland, putting consumers at risk and tarnishing the reputations of honest professionals in the sector. We will act to protect British Columbians when they are making one of their most important family investments – purchasing a home."
While a report released this week suggested that erring realtors should be fined as much as $250,000, the government release didn't state specific amounts but said that with a dedicated government appointed authority overseeing the industry – it will not be business as usual.
BC Government, with an election looming on the horizon, sees that skyrocketing home prices and speculators that are driving up the prices is bad news with voters. So it has accepte3d the recommendations of the independent advisory group and will:
* Establish a dedicated superintendent of real estate, who will take over the council's regulation- and rule-making authority to carry out the changes required to restore public confidence.
* Reconstitute the Real Estate Council with a majority of public-interest, non-industry members.
* Implement the recommended penalties, as well as increased fines for unlicensed activity and other offences.
* Allow for commissions from licensees engaging in misconduct to be taken back to the council.
* Make the managing broker responsible for ensuring the owner of the brokerage does not engage in the business of the brokerage if the owner is not a licensee.
* No longer permit licensees to offer dual agency representation.
"Government is assessing the best and fastest way to enhance transparency and consumer protection in the real estate industry," Finance Minister Michael de Jong said. "We are working on legislation that will expand the powers of the superintendent of real estate to address these issues, ensure appropriate public representation on the board, and implement higher disciplinary and administrative penalties."
The new and enhanced role for the superintendent will give additional powers to address the other recommendations made in the report, including the comprehensive Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, requiring increased standards for licensees, and requiring record keeping and reporting that will help identify industry practices that may be placing consumers at risk.
Action to protect consumers in the real estate market is just one part of government's strategy to address affordability, which also includes plans to increase supply, focus on smart transit expansion, support first-time homebuyers, and increase rental supply.