Success of Real Estate Consumer Protection Measures Hinges on Next Steps by BC Government and Real Estate Regulator
CATEGORY: Advocacy News Releases Supporting Consumers
TAGS: A Better Way Home BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) Consumer Protection Cooling Off Period Pre-Offer Period
Vancouver, BC – May 30, 2022. After reviewing the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) consumer protection recommendations published on May 26, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) urges the Ministry of Finance to carefully consider the next steps prior to implementing any of the measures proposed.
While many of the consumer protection recommendations in BCFSA’s report align with recommendations BCREA and the real estate sector made in the white paper, A Better Way Home: Strengthening Consumer Protection in Real Estate, earlier this year, the full suite of measures proposed by the BCFSA, if adopted, would present a significant change to the real estate transaction process and could cause additional strain and confusion for buyers, sellers and others involved.
“We are pleased to see that the regulator agrees with our recommendations to introduce a pre-offer period and make key documents available upon the listing of a property,” says BCREA Chief Executive Officer Trevor Koot. “We all agree that protecting consumers in real estate transactions is extremely important, however, how the Ministry handles these recommendations next will determine the success of any changes.”
The Minister of Finance announced plans for the “cooling-off period” and subsequently tabled the Property Law Amendment Act to enable its implementation without prior research and consultation with the public or the real estate sector and before having its report from BCFSA. The regulator was also not tasked with considering the merits or effectiveness of the “cooling-off period” proposed within its report, leaving it only to consider how, not if, it should be implemented.
“To implement any changes effectively and successfully, it is imperative that Ministry empower BCFSA to carry out the next steps. It is often referred to as an “independent regulator,” yet BCFSA has been directed to research a pre-decided policy without being given latitude to determine whether a ‘cooling-off period’ is an effective mechanism to protect consumers. This is a critical step that has been missed and we consider it vital before moving forward,” Koot adds. “More time, research and consultation with all parties involved in the real estate transaction process – including Realtors – is needed to ensure the nuances of such substantial changes are carefully considered and unintended consequences on consumers are avoided.”
The voice of Realtors is extremely important when making decisions that impact the real estate transaction process. The profession is the closest point of contact with consumers, representing their interests, hearing their questions and concerns and can provide insight that is not available elsewhere.
BCREA, the province’s eight real estate boards and 24,000 Realtors published more than 30 consumer protection recommendations in February. View the report and full list of recommendations at bcrea.bc.ca/whitepaper.
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Sr. Communications Specialist
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