Purchasing a home or other property is a major decision, and being able to trust the professionals overseeing the transaction is important. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) wants to address this issue by doubling fines for salespeople and brokerages who break the rules. They propose changing real estate law in the GTA, Toronto and York Region to increase penalties for ethics violations to a maximum of $50,000 for salespeople and $100,000 for brokerages. The average fine per case last year was much less than these proposed maximums at $6,000.
The rules currently in place have not been updated since 2002, when the average cost of a home in Ontario was $211,000. In the past 15 years, the average price tag for a home has increased to $619,000. The OREA posits that, with so much more money on the line for Canadian home buyers, the consequences for misleading them in their purchase should be greater.
One of the main issues with current real estate law and OREA regulations is that, in misconduct cases, even the maximum fines may not cover the total commission earned by the salesperson. Other solutions have been proposed over the last year to deter unethical or illegal behaviour by real estate professionals. This includes a proposed ban on realtors representing both buyer and seller in a transaction.
Consumers should be aware of any real estate law that can protect them from misconduct on the part of their real estate agent or other professional. An experienced lawyer in York Region, Toronto and the GTA can be consulted to better understand these regulations and to learn about recourse options for any issues with real estate agents. Agents with concerns or questions about these proposed changes or current rules in place can also benefit from the advice of a lawyer.
Source: CBC News, "Realtors who break rules should face tougher penalties, Ontario association says", Aug. 23, 2017