October 13th - 2009

Legal Forum hits a milestone!

Got a burning real estate question? Chances are you will find the answer to it on OREA’s online Legal Forum.

Got a burning real estate question? Chances are you will find the answer to it on OREA’s online Legal Forum. Since its creation in 1999, Legal Forum has become the most popular page on the OREA Web site answering more than 4,000 questions from REALTORS®.

The forum fields questions on a wide range of topics including commission entitlement, multiple offers, disclosures, advertising and promotion, grow house issues, condominium status certificates, Do Not Call and many others. Questions are answered by well-known real estate lawyer Merv Burgard, Q.C., a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, member of the Ontario bar for over 40 years, and a regular contributor to many real estate publications. While not intended to provide legal advice or opinion, the Legal Forum offers perspective on situations that commonly occur in a REALTOR®'s day-to-day business.

Legal Forum's most popular topics include commissions, disclosure, and offers. “Many questions still display confusion about basic topics such as agency,” says Merv. “Many more bring current issues to the forefront and reflect a changing emphasis in members' professional activities in active markets.” Some more recent frequently asked questions involve issues such as privacy law or FINTRAC requirements.

In some cases, Legal Forum questions require a more in-depth discussion of a particular topic. These questions are referred to the OREA Legal Resource Committee for possible development into legal pamphlets. OREA's Legal Pamphlets also provide an excellent resource for legal information, covering topics such as disclosing defects, deposits, underground oil tanks and multiple offers. Like the Legal Forum, pamphlets can be accessed from the Members Only section of the OREA Web site.

Commercial REALTORS® have used the Forum to find out information about issues of particular interest to them, such as leasing, GST, environmental matters and property specifications.

To submit a question, visit the OREA Web site, log on to “My OREA” and go to “LEGAL Forum” under the legal section. You will need to include your first name and e-mail address and type in your question in the space provided. When your question and Merv’s response are posted on the Web site, you will be notified at the e-mail address that was submitted, so be sure to input the information correctly.

Questions and answers are initially posted in both the Recently Asked Questions area, as well as under the appropriate Topic and Subtopic. Members are encouraged to review the topics or use the Legal Forum Search function on the Legal Forum page. The nice thing about the Legal Forum search function is that it conducts a search of not only Legal Forum but the entire Legal section of the Web site including Legal Articles and Legal Pamphlets and Privacy Compliance articles/resources.

Whether you have a specific question or just want to increase your knowledge, a visit to Legal Forum on a regular basis can help you catch up on the latest questions and responses. For Merv, answering over 4,000 questions on the forum is often an enlightening experience for him too. “I am frequently surprised at the depth of the questions and the fact that many members have already searched the previous Q & A before asking. Every now and then it is a two-way street when I say ‘That is a great question!’ And then I do some research and post an answer and say, "I didn't know that before, either!"

Devoted readers say…
Over the years, many questions have come with comments praising the service and its administrator. A few examples: “Hi Merv, Great site. Once again I stayed up long past my bedtime reviewing the different topics and subtopics where I found lots of interesting issues…. Hi Merv, Let me say first that it is sure great to have this service you are providing for us REALTORS®.... It is absolutely wonderful to have you as a resource and to be able to review your answers & directions, thank you so much… as a fairly new REALTOR® I find the site to be a comforting guideline to complex issues.… Hello Guru of Real Estate Law!”

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Ontario Real Estate Association

Jean-Adrien Delicano

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