It's Time to Say Goodbye: Ending an Agency Agreement Before It Expires
Relationships change – whether it's between friends, family or a REALTOR® and a client. Sometimes, relationships come to a natural conclusion, like when a REALTOR® helps a client buy a home, meaning that terms of the Exclusive Buyer's Agency Agreement have been met.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) provides REALTORS® and their clients with a number of agency agreements to set out the terms of their relationship:
- Exclusive Buyer's Agency Agreement
- Multiple Listing Agreement
- Exclusive Multiple Listing Agreement
- Exclusive Authority to Lease
- Tenant Agency Exclusive Contract
While these agency agreements define everyone's responsibilities, sometimes things happen that mean one or both parties is unable – or unwilling – to continue the relationship.
An agency agreement may come to an early end if the brokerage that the REALTOR® works for runs into problems, like its license being suspended or cancelled, or if it's facing bankruptcy, insolvency or receivership. A REALTOR® may also have to end a relationship with a client before their agency agreement expires if continuing to act for that client would amount to dual agency that is not permitted under the Real Estate Services Act Rules.
In these cases, the agency agreement automatically ends and the obligations of the brokerage and the REALTOR® and the buyer, seller, landlord or tenant also end in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agency agreement.
Relationship status: it's complicated
In some cases, a REALTOR® or client might want to end the agency agreement before it expires for other reasons. If this happens, then a new agreement needs to be entered into between them to end their original agency agreement. That can be more complicated than it sounds in the case of a disagreement. If both parties can't agree to end the relationship, then the rights and obligations laid out in their original agency agreement continue until that agreement expires.
To avoid these types of situations, before entering into an agency agreement, a REALTOR® and client should discuss how they want to handle specific circumstances that may come up and may lead to the end of their agency relationship. These terms can be negotiated and included in the agency agreement before it's signed. But be careful – making changes to such an agreement comes with risks. Be sure to get legal advice before agreeing to or adding new terms to any agency agreement.
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