February 7th - 2012

RECO: Registrant fails to check status of listing

The following decision from RECO Discipline and Appeals Hearings has been condensed. All names have been changed.

The following decision from RECO Discipline and Appeals Hearings has been condensed. All names have been changed.

THE FACTS
Sarah wanted to sell her house. She signed a listing agreement for six months with the help of Ken, a salesperson at Dolsin Brokerage. After nearly three months, the list price had been reduced, the house remained unsold and the listing was cancelled. Sarah then entered into a second listing agreement with Dolsin for another six months. However, Sarah was again dissatisfied, and after two months she and Dolsin signed a suspension of the second listing.

Meanwhile Ross, a salesperson with Zeshur Realty, had a buyer for Sarah’s house. Before approaching her, he conducted a search of conditional sales and expired (terminated) listings on the real estate board’s MLS® System and came across the first cancelled listing between Sarah and Dolsin. When Ross approached Sarah with a printout, she verified that it was her terminated listing, but she did not have a copy of the cancellation agreement.

Ross drafted a new listing agreement between Zeshur Realty and Sarah. Sarah’s house sold just one day after she signed the new listing agreement with Zeshur, which represented both Sarah and the buyer in the transaction. 

When Ken learned that Sarah’s house had sold, he sent a letter of complaint to RECO stating that his brokerage still held an active listing on the property at time of sale. Although suspended, the second listing agreement between Sarah and Dolsin Brokerage was still in effect when Sarah signed the listing agreement with Zeshur Realty and when her property sold. In his response to RECO, Ross admitted that he made a mistake by searching only expired (terminated) listings for the address of Sarah’s property and not checking active listings.

THE FINDINGS
The RECO panel determined that Ross acted unprofessionally when he failed to conduct a search of active listings by address and only searched under expired and conditional sales. Ross’ actions put Sarah in a position to be potentially liable for two commissions on the same property. The panel ruled that Ross breached four sections of the REBBA 2002 Code of Ethics: (4) Best Interests, (5) Conscientious and competent service etc., (38) Error, misrepresentation, fraud etc. and (39) Unprofessional conduct.

PENALTY
Ross was ordered to pay $5,000. The full case is among those dated 2011/04/11 and can be viewed at www.reco.on.ca. Look under "Complaints and Enforcement" and scroll down to "Disciplines and Appeals Hearings and Decisions." Choose the appropriate year and search by date only.

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