Changes to Ontario real estate regulations bring tougher penalties for rule-breakers
Ontario’s tighter rules come as a welcome change for the real estate industry, according to the head of the province’s major professional association.
“We’re probably unique among (professional) associations, saying, ‘No, we want tougher rules. We want an ability for the regulator to investigate anybody who is breaking the rules,’” Tim Hudak, chief executive officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association, told BNN Bloomberg in a Wednesday interview.
“Right now it’s a complaint-based system only, but (the industry wants) to give them more powers of investigation … They want to see that higher standard. Nothing makes them madder than when they hear a story of one of their members who took advantage of somebody when it comes to a home purchase.”
The Ontario government augmented realtor rules with a new bill on Tuesday. The province’s new legislation allows further overnight powers for the Real Estate Council of Ontario, including the ability to fine and investigate realtors as well as suspending or even revoking licences for malpractice. It also allows realtors to disclose competing offers at homeowners’ discretion.
Hudak sees the new regulations offering homebuyers greater security in addition to combatting potential realtor malpractice.
“This will make Ontario North American leaders when it comes to being assured that the realtor at your side when you’re making the biggest purchase or sale of your life has the highest professional standards, best education [and] modern tools,” he said.
“If they break the rules [the legislation allows for] strict discipline to make sure we keep at that high level.”
Hudak – who led Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party from 2009 to 2014 – praised the Ford government for its latest step to address how homes are bought and sold in the province.
“I think the Ford government has really done an outstanding job on the two biggest issues when it comes to real estate,” he said.
“They already acted [on] having more homes, more choice to make sure home ownership becomes more affordable and doesn’t slip out of reach for hard-working Ontarians. Now, we can have confidence that our real estate professionals can have the highest standards in North America.”