Understanding the Privacy Notice and Consent Form

Jul 15, 2018

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April van Ert

Since the Real Estate Services Act Rule changes came into effect last month, there has been some confusion about how and when to use BCREA's new Privacy Notice and Consent form. There have also been questions as to how it differs from the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's disclosure forms that contain a Consumer Privacy Notice. To understand how and when to use these forms, you first need to understand BC laws around privacy, disclosure and consent to collect, use and share personal information.

BC privacy laws require that anyone collecting another person's personal information must have a reasonable purpose for doing so. This purpose must be disclosed and explicit consent must be obtained before collecting, using and sharing another person's personal information. Personal information means any identifiable information about a person, and may include his/her name, address, phone number or financial information. When it comes to real estate, personal information may also include information about someone's property (such as listing and selling price, lease rate, listing term, etc.).

The Council's disclosure forms contain a privacy provision, but it is specific as to the collection of personal information on these forms. It does not cover many other typical purposes a REALTOR® may have for collecting personal information from consumers, such as to help consumers sell, buy or lease real estate.

That's where BCREA's Privacy Notice and Consent form comes in. The Privacy Notice and Consent form provides more detailed information about how personal information collected by a REALTOR® may be used, including other parties it might be shared with (like real estate boards) and how it may be collected (through other standard forms or through government agencies, for example).

BCREA developed the Privacy Notice and Consent form as a tool to make it easier for REALTORS® to disclose why and how they will gather personal information from a consumer. Since privacy laws dictate that consumers must be told - and consent to - how their personal information will be used before this information is collected, REALTORS® should provide the Privacy Notice and Consent form in advance of receiving/collecting personal information through other forms like a Multiple Listing Contract or Contract of Purchase and Sale.

For more information on the Privacy Notice and Consent form, including what to do when a client doesn't give consent or what to do when working with an unrepresented party, click here.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications such as this one, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

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