“For most Ontarians, a home is the single largest financial investment they will ever make. When it comes to buying and selling real estate, Ontario’s families deserve to have full confidence in the process. That includes trusting that the professional by your side has the highest professional standards, training, and modern tools – regardless of how you buy or sell your home.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has pushed to raise the bar even further and ensure that all real estate transactions in Ontario should adhere to North American leading standards of consumer protection, no matter if you buy your home through a REALTOR®, a lawyer, a builder, or an auction. As part of that, OREA has repeatedly called for the elimination of an outdated loophole that exempts auctioneers from registration or licensing requirements – with potential for frightening implications for unsuspecting consumers trying to buy a home.
Last year, OREA was named as a defendant in a defamation action brought by Unreserved.com Inc., related to OREA’s long-standing efforts to improve consumer protection for Ontario’s buyers and sellers by highlighting the issues with a 1950s-era exemption for unregulated auctioneers.
OREA has been clear from the beginning: we will stand up to protect Ontario’s consumers. Since being served, OREA has continued to stay the course and fight to ensure all the province’s homebuyers and sellers are protected, whether using the traditional offer process or an auction process.
Unreserved.com Inc. agreed to the dismissal of its lawsuit.
While this is good news for Ontario’s consumers and real estate agents who work hard to represent them, there is still work to be done to address this problem and improve protections for homebuyers and sellers.
The Government of Ontario plays a critical role in this by ensuring individuals involved in a real estate transaction – from REALTORS® to mortgage brokers – are all regulated. But auctioneers trading in real estate remain exempt from these rules, a legacy exemption originally intended to support the sale of farm properties sold at auction.
Today, Ontario and Manitoba are the only provinces in Canada that do not regulate real estate auctioneers; an issue with potential for serious negative consequences should a problem arise during a transaction.
Removing the exemption will not ban real estate auctions – it would simply mean auctioneers would now be required to follow Ontario’s North American leading real estate rules, including educational requirements, consumer-friendly disclosures, deposit protections, and fines and disciplinary actions for those who break the rules.
Without this Provincial oversight, there is potential for serious negative consequences, including consumers who have very little protection or recourse against risks like phantom or fake bidding on a property, misuse of buyer deposits or an auctioneer with personal interest in the property it is selling.
OREA is a strong advocate for consumer choice in the real estate market, including lobbying for seller choice of an open offer process, which will be included under Phase Two of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA). But consumers should also have confidence that they will be protected, no matter how they choose to buy or sell a home. It’s time to remove this out-of-date exemption.”
– Tim Hudak, CEO, Ontario Real Estate Association
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Ontario Real Estate Association
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