Standard Forms Spotlight: What You Need to Know About BCREA Standard Forms

Jun 11, 2020

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Posted by
Syntyche Smith
Project Coordinator

This is the first post in "Standard Forms Spotlight," a regular series of blog posts that will help REALTORS® enhance their understanding and build their knowledge of the many intricacies around provincial standard forms and clauses used in real estate transactions in BC. Learn more about what you can expect in the monthly series here.

We all know that enforceable legal contracts are at the core of real estate transactions. Without them, a transaction has little footing to stand on.
For more than 25 years, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) has aimed to strengthen the foundation of real estate transactions in the province by maintaining and administering legal contracts and related documents, also known as Standard Forms.

These forms, of which there are more than 50, are not only essential to successful completion of real estate transactions across the province, but are also valuable resources intended to:

  • help Realtors meet regulatory requirements;
  • mitigate risk and reduce liability;
  • enhance professionalism;
  • support best practices; and
  • protect consumers.

Keeping Forms Current

Together with the Standard Forms Committee, BC's 11 real estate boards, lawyers and other industry experts, BCREA is committed to ensuring that Standard Forms reflect the dynamic nature of the BC real estate sector.
So, how do we achieve this? One key component that helps ensure our Standard Forms continue to meet the evolving needs and realities of the real estate sector is the BCREA Standard Forms Committee.

The Committee is made up of Managing Brokers and Realtors, real estate board representatives, representatives from the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC), the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE), Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance (REEOIC) and the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. The voice of consumers is also represented.

The Standard Forms Committee provides a wealth of expertise - including practical and legal insights - and brings a variety of perspectives through their experience and consultation with stakeholders, to ensure that the Standard Forms are indeed meeting the needs expressed across the Province.

How to Request a Form Change or Suggest a New Form

The Committee often receives requests for changes to Standard Forms or suggestions for new forms from various stakeholders including Realtors and real estate boards, governmental organizations, other professional agencies, and public interest groups.

For each request that is received, the following list of questions helps determine if the request will move forward:

  1. Is the request for a new or revised Standard Form supported by and coming from a real estate board or from a Committee member?
  2. Does the proposed Standard Form or revision have a provincial scope?
  3. How often would the Standard Form be used, and will it appropriately address a common situation?
  4. Are there significant legal, regulatory or practice issues if the Standard Form were not available to Realtors?
  5. Will the creation or revision of this Standard Form provide value to Realtors?

Consideration is also given to how well the request would serve consumers and the profession. After the request is made (by email to [email protected]), changes to Standard Forms follow the process below:

  1. The request undergoes an initial internal review to examine how the request would improve a specific area of professional real estate.
  2. If the request is determined to meet the criteria, it is presented at the next Standard Forms Committee Meeting. Standard Form Committee meetings occur at least three times per year.
  3. The Committee reviews all requests received and makes recommendations based on their expertise, knowledge and experience.
  4. BCREA makes decisions on whether or not to amend an existing form or create a new form.
  5. If BCREA approves the creation of a new form or a revision to an existing form, it then undergoes a change management process, from drafting the changes (legal or typographical) to gathering feedback from the various stakeholders. This consultation may take between 1-2 months depending on the significance of the change requested.
  6. Once feedback is received, the new form or revisions are finalized, and guidance resources, as deemed necessary, are created to help support Realtors in using the forms.
  7. The final step is for the revised or new form(s) to be uploaded to WEBForms® for use in real estate practice.

As you can tell, creating or making a change to a form is not an instant process. However, the steps included in the process ensure that the creation and revision of Standard Forms are viewed from a holistic perspective. This variety of perspectives helps to protect the interests involved in the usage of the forms.

If you have any questions about BCREA Standard Forms, or if you would like to suggest a new form or a change to improve an existing form, our Standard Forms team would love to hear from you. You can reach us at [email protected].

If you have a specific forms request, please submit it here: Request a Standard Form Change (REALTOR Link® login required).

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

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