I play by the rules. Maybe it’s because I spent ten years working in Human Resources, or maybe it’s because I think real estate Buyers and Sellers need protection.
The varying levels of ethical enforcement have the power to issue and execute search warrants, revoke real estate licenses, determine financial penalties and yes, even prosecute criminally. Toronto Realtors are bound to ethical duties and obligations at both the provincial and federal level.
Among other obligations, Ontario real estate agents must:
- Maintain confidentiality. (Confidentiality)
- Have the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed for the real estate transaction. (Competence)
- Be honest and not take advantage of the client; disclose any conflicting interests; disclose facts about the property which would be relevant to the client’s decision in buying or selling the property. (Good Faith)
- Place the interests of the client above all else except the law; help to promote and protect the client’s interests at all times and disclose any conflict, actual or perceived. (Loyalty)
In the last 30 days, here are some of the violations that I have personally encountered:
- A registered real estate agent made an appointment to view a property we had listed and gave the code to the lockbox that contained the key to the property to an unregistered person. No agent was present at the showing of our client’s property or during the completion of the offer. Registered agents must accompany potential purchasers to a showing, and non-registered people must not trade in real estate.
- A realtor didn’t follow the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s guidelines of fair advertising by grossly underpricing a house with a price they had no intention of accepting. You can read more about that here in our blog I’m not anti-realtor, I’m just anti-douchebag realtor. Realtors have duties to advertise fairly.
- An agent made misrepresentations about the client they were representing and about themselves. Agents aren’t allowed to misrepresent.
- An agent advertised one of my listings without my permission and represented it as their own. Agents need written permission to advertise properties that aren’t listed with their brokerage.
- An agent represented a client in the purchase of a condo and did not disclose that he would be living in it. Agents have a duty to disclose if they have a personal stake in a purchase or sale.
You’re not alone if you think that’s a lot of infractions to have witnessed in 30 days. For the record, those allegations involve at least five agents, not just one really bad agent. So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ve officially been part of my first complaint to the Real Estate Council of Ontario. We’ll see how that turns out.
Like any other industry, a few rotten apples spoils the bunch (or, at least, taint us all). While most real estate agents are ethical and good, we all need to bring forward concerns and complaints so that the bar in this industry can be raised. And yes, I mean consumers need to get involved too.
Thank you for listening – I will now descend from my soapbox.