New rules proposed by the B.C.’s superintendent of real estate could ban Realtors from representing buyers and sellers at the same time.
Key changes outlined in a proposal released Thursday include prohibiting the practice of dual agency and increasing mandatory licensee disclosures regarding representation and remuneration.
Dual agency, or limited dual agency, is a licensed Realtor representing both a buyer and seller in a transaction, or two or more competing buyers.
The ban would be exempt for Realtors in remote and under-served locations.
The proposed changes stem from recommendations issued in a report to the Real Estate Council of BC in June 2016, which examined the framework for real estate in the province.
The report was prompted by allegations that some real estate agents were flipping homes multiple times before a deal closed, also known as “shadow flipping,” that drove up prices and commissions.
The report also found that a Realtor representing more than one party in the transaction of a property could hinder their ability and duty to act in the best interests of the client.
But while the proposed ban on dual agency addresses a push for more transparency, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Jill Oudil insists the changes could give consumers less choice.
“We believe there are other circumstances where consumers should have the choice to consent to limited dual agency so long as they can demonstrate that their consent is informed,” Oudil said in a statement.
“People who’ve built a longstanding relationship with a Realtor shouldn’t be forced to find alternative representation in a transaction against their wishes.”