New rules prohibiting real estate agents from working with both the buyer and seller of a property come into effect on Friday, and even though there have been some revisions, there is still worry from some in the industry that they will lead to frustration and confusion.
“So many people do not understand what’s happening. There have been lots of emails, but it’s not clear what’s expected. We have been discussing potential scenarios, but it’s very difficult to know what (will be considered) right,” says Mark Wiens, a realtor at Sutton West Coast Realty.
The new rules were first announced in November 2017 by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate following cases of misconduct in Metro Vancouver and concerns that, in a red-hot market, consumer interests were being exploited for realtor gains.
Implementation was scheduled for March 2018, but a three-month extension was granted because the real estate industry called for more time to discuss changes and arguments that blanketing the province with the same rules didn’t take into consideration the situation in smaller, more remote markets.
On Thursday, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver called on the minister of finance and the office of the superintendent of real estate to extend the timeline further.
“The rules changes are significant and penalties for non-compliance are substantial, yet the implications and means of implementation of the new rules are still not well understood in the industry,” said Weaver. “Real estate professionals across B.C. are bringing forward stories about inaccurate and conflicting information, and inadequate training regarding these new rules.”