Ban moves ahead in B.C. against same real estate agent for buyer and seller

New real estate consumer protection rules to take effect in March

Real estate agents will no longer be able to act on behalf of both buyers and sellers in B.C. as of next March, the province has announced.

The practice, known as dual agency, remains legal everywhere else in Canada.

The government proposed the new real estate consumer protection rules in September, sparking pushback from the B.C. Real Estate Association. President Jim Stewart say the regulations would limit choice for clients.

READ MORE: New rules would ban Realtors from representing both buyers and sellers

The province acknowledges that problem for buyers and sellers in remote communities, so have made an exemption for cases where “a particular property is so remote as to make finding another agent extremely difficult.”

Still, Stewart said clients who have forged a close relationship with their agents will lose out under the new regulations, as they’ll be prohibited from working with only agents they trust.

Other rules being brought in include requiring better disclosure of real estate licensee remuneration, and making sure consumers know their rights and warn them of the risks.

The new rules stem from recommendations issued in a report last year to the Real Estate Council of BC, 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.