Back in June the Real Estate Council of B.C. lost its right to self-regulate after questionable practices – like shadow flipping – came to light.
In response to that, the government has now appointed nine members to form a new council tasked with protecting the public’s interest.
Finance Minister Mike de Jong says the new body is tasked with investigating complaints and clamping down on penalties for agents who don’t act according to industry laws.
“They are in most cases, not realtors. They are there to ensure that the public interest is addressed and the rules that govern the behavior or realtors and licensees are enforced.”
He says council will have the right to enforce penalties.
“Those who purport to provide real estate services are properly licensed. In cases where a licensee is not operating in a way that is consistent with the regulations of the law, the Real Estate Council has the right to impose sanctions and penalties.”
The nine members hail from diverse backgrounds including consumer protection, strata management and law.
NDP Housing Critic Hopeful
While he’s usually quick to call out the government on housing action, NDP housing critic David Eby says he has faith in all nine members.
“Very esteemed people on the board and some people that I have a great deal of personal respect for so I am hopeful hat they can do the job.”
Eby says his only concern is whether the new body will have the resources to do the job to make sure complaints brought forward are investigated thoroughly and properly.
He says an example is the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C. – a body that oversees unlicensed activity – is understaffed.
“And they’ve been chronically understaffed unable to do their jobs for more than three years now according to the auditor general of B.C. Now, the government has assumed responsibility for this organization. It is critically important that they have the investigators and auditors necessary when someone brings a complaint to make sure that it is investigated thoroughly.”
Eby says the government has to be accountable to make sure the new body clamps down hard on those who don’t follow regulations.