The fallout has been swift from this weekend’s Globe and Mail investigation that revealed the shady realtor technique of shadow flipping.
Today came the announcement that the Superindendent of Real Estate with the Real Estate Council of BC will be leading an “independent advisory group” into real estate practices.
So can we trust the Council? Or is it a case of realtors investigating themselves?
LISTEN: Lynda Steele speaks with a woman who says the Real Estate Council let her fraudster realtor off the hook
In 2011, she was defrauded by her realtor who went as far as forging her signature to get a higher commission.
But what really upset her was the response when she took her complaint to the Council.
She says she was promised quick justice; instead, it took a year and a half for them to even hear the case.
“He was continuing to sell real estate, nobody knew what he was accused of in my case.”
When he finally was punished, Mackenzie says it was basically a slap on the wrist. Six months suspension and a fine of about $1,100.
“I was shocked because I had initially been told by the managing broker of that realtor that he would likely lose his license within days. Lose is his license, not be suspended.”
“The suspension was a joke. I mean 3-6 months – if you look at the list of suspensions on the real estate council’s website that’s kind of their standard. It seems like they have a stamp made for that.”
Mackenzie says she thinks anyone who breaks the law like her realtor did should be kicked out of the industry, not just suspended. And she says small fines are a waste of time when agents are pulling in commissions in the range of $30-50,000.
“If you look at the real estate council, it’s made out of realtors … it’s like the analogy of the police policing themselves.”
She says when her realtor was finally punished, she was shut out of any hearings and prevented from giving her side of the story; instead he had closed door negotiations with the council.
“They even issued an agreed statement of facts. That document to me is- it’s hard not to grimace when I say it becuase it’s not factual. They agreed with the realtor to the facts, again, without my input, and there were things in there that I can actually prove are not true.”
She says she’s glad the Globe investigation seems to have finally hit a nerve in the city, and is hoping it leads to some kind of permanent action when it comes to the way the real estate industry is regulated.
“Its an in for all of us to ensure that the government looks at the governance of the real estate industry and I think, almost needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt in a way that really does protect the public interest, and protects the people who are spending their life savings buying and selling real estate.”
The first report from the Real Estate Council of B.C.’s “independent advisory group” is due April 8th.