“We have written a letter to the Vancouver Police department asking them to investigate the real estate firm called New Coast Realty.”
The NDP want Vancouver Police to launch a criminal investigation into a real estate firm at the center of allegations of misconduct.
Housing critic David Eby says it is time for police to step in after the owner of New Coast Realty was caught in an audio recording allegedly advising his agents how to deceive clients to drive up company profits.
“Deceiving clients. Secret bonuses. Very serious allegations. Criminal allegations. The letter is written to the Vancouver Police department saying these allegations have been made.There are former New Coast agents saying they were asked to do illegal things will you please go and investigate this fraud because most of the people who would have been ripped off if this story is true wouldn’t know that this had happened.”
Eby says long term lack of oversight has fostered an environment where agents think they can skirt the rules with impunity.
“When you are dealing in an atmosphere where real estate agents have had no accountability for an extended period of time people are going to keep pushing the envelope. I have no doubt that these allegations are just the tip of the iceberg. I have been calling for increased enforcement now for months and seen very little response in terms of on the ground enforcement and audits.”
Earlier this week during Question Period, the NDP called for a fraud investigation into New Coast’s dealings.
Eby says he wants the provincial government to join his call for a criminal investigation.
Listen: CKNW’s Shane Woodford and Lynda Steele on the call for a police investigation
Allegations of misconduct
The allegations against New Coast Realty came after a Globe and Mail investigation which included an audio recording of a training session at the brokerage.
On the tape, the firm’s owner Ze Yu Wu can be heard telling agents to push clients for quick, lower priced sales to other in-house agents so that the firm can flip the properties, making big profits and huge bonuses.
The Real Estate Council has since imposed seven conditions on the firm, including the appointment of a new managing broker approved by the Council.
The firm must also turn over its records relating to commission bonuses and so called “shadow-flipping” assignment contracts.
However, Wu is not a real estate agent himself, and as such is not subject to sanction by the Council.
In an update on an ongoing probe into unethical realtor practices, B.C.’s Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers referred to the allegations as ” particularly disturbing,” and said the investigation was looking hard at predatory sales practices and “double ended” deals where agents represent both the buyer and seller in a deal.
LISTEN: Globe and Mail investigative journalist Kathy Tomlinson joins Jon McComb to break down the New Coast allegations