The highly-anticipated report on the regulation of British Columbia’s real estate professionals has been released.

The Real Estate Council of BC created an independent advisory group to recommend ways in which the regulatory framework should enhance consumer protection and boost public confidence.

The group, chaired by Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers makes 28 key recommendations including the creation of a new code of ethics which real estate professionals must sign and comply with.

“We have recommended important changes to the regulatory regime to improve public protection, including greater transparency for consumers, higher penalties, improved reporting of licensee misconduct, governance changes, and improved public accessibility to the regulator” said Carolyn Rogers. “We encourage Council to treat our report as the beginning, not the end, of an ongoing commitment to strengthen public protection.”

To strengthen consumer protection, the group has made a number of recommendations regarding real estate agents’ contracts and agents would be prohibited from having an interest in properties they are listing.

There is also a proposal to hike penalties for real estate agents and brokers who breach the rules. Current fines of $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a brokerage should be increased to $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a brokerage, the report recommends. Additionally, the level of administrative penalties should be increased to $50,000 (from the current $1,000).

There are various ways in which the Real Estate Council’s powers would be increased if the report’s suggestions are implemented. Read the full report.

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