Dual Agency Banned in British Columbia

June 18, 2018

Real estate professionals in British Columbia are no longer allowed to take part in “double ending” deals, which means they can’t represent both the buyer and seller in a transaction. The ban, which is being implemented by the Real Estate Council of B.C., took effect last Friday. The practice of double ending is known as dual agency. Exceptions to the ban exist for transactions occurring in remote locations where there are fewer agents in business.

“These changes have been designed to reinforce a real estate agent’s duties and obligations to their clients and to ensure that agents are always acting in their client’s best interests,” Michael Noseworthy, British Columbia’s superintendent of real estate, said in a statement. “We want to make sure that the advice consumers receive is solely for their benefit and that consumers have confidence that their agent is undoubtedly on their side.”

The ban also applies to agents who represent two or more buyers vying for the same property and to rental agents who represent both a landlord and a tenant. Agents may be required to stop representing a client if a potential conflict of interest occurs in the midst of a transaction, according to the new rules. The new rules also increase the disclosures agents must make to clients, including information on services provided, fees, and how a client can file a complaint.

Some real estate professionals in British Columbia have criticized the new rules, calling for adjustments to the law, which was first announced in February. The outcry prompted the new rules’ effective date to be moved from March 15 to June 15 to give pros more time to adjust to the upcoming changes. “Everyone is so confused,” Matt Kerr, a sales associate with RE/MAX Real Estate Services in Vancouver, told media in February.

Some agents told reporters that if they end up having to recuse themselves over a conflict of interest, there weren’t clear instructions regarding whether they could refer a listing to one of their team members. Commercial practitioners say they’re concerned because the legislation could prohibit them from selling a property to a buyer with whom they’ve dealt with in the past.

The ban does not distinguish between residential and commercial real estate transactions. “Regardless of whether you specialize in marinas, ranch lands, mobile homes, supermarkets, or other kinds of specialty properties or niche markets, the agency and disclosure rules will apply to the services you provide,” the rule states.

REALTOR® Ban on ‘Double Ending’ Comes Into Force,” North Shore News (June 14, 2018) and “B.C. REALTORS® Banned From Representing Both Buyer and Seller Starting Friday,” Global News (Canada) (June 14, 2018)