Real estate agents in B.C. say they are not ready and may risk significant financial penalties when new rules are implemented prohibiting “dual agency,” the practice where an agent represents both a buyer and a seller.
Starting June 15, according to rules posted by the B.C. Real Estate Council, agents are prohibited from representing both the buyer and seller in a transaction in almost all circumstances. The regulations, announced last November by B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, require listing agents to present a disclosure form to every unrepresented potential buyer who asks for advice. Even answering even simple questions about real estate could be seen as acting as someone’s agent.
Additional rules require agents to disclose, in dollar value, exactly how much commission they would make whenever an offer is made.
To help agents understand the changes, the Real Estate Council of B.C., the regulator responsible for enforcing the rules, has a prepared three-day mandatory course agents must take before their licences expire.
But even on the eve of June 15, multiple agents told StarMetro they have yet to take the course. One agent said they received an invitation to take the course only nine days before the new rules were slated to take effect.
Barbara Bell-Olsen, managing broker at Royal LePage Westside, said the changes put agents who want to help unrepresented buyers by answering questions into a difficult position. She questioned whether the changes are truly helping the public.
Reposted from THE STAR VANCOUVER