Many homebuyers and sellers would like to know the sale prices of comparable residential real estate in their area. Historically, this data has been kept from the public by real estate boards such as the Toronto Real Estate Board. But do people have a right to share and access the sale prices of homes under Ontario real estate law? The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that the Toronto Real Estate Board cannot restrict the publication of data, giving the board 60 days to comply with the order.
The court refused to hear the appeal from theToronto Real Estate Board (TREB) on its restriction of home sales data. This brings to a close a long legal battle stemming from a 2011 Competition Bureau application. The TREB argued that it disallowed the publication of this data due to privacy and copyright concerns. The Competition Bureau, meanwhile, argued that the restriction prevented competition and digital innovation.
The ruling from the Supreme Court is precedent setting, as many real estate boards outside of Toronto grapple with this issue as well. These other real estate boards will likely follow suit and allow their members to share data. The move could have a major impact on real estate transactions throughout the province and country.
Ontario real estate law and the regulations of area real estate boards both govern the behaviour of agents, brokerages and other real estate professionals. When working with a real estate agent, buyers and sellers should ensure they are a member in good standing with the board. They should also work with a lawyer to make sure their transactions are legally sound.