Changes to Consumer Rights in Real Estate

Home / Changes to Consumer Rights in Real Estate

Effective December 1, 2023

Did you know that there is legislation in Ontario that governs real estate?  Did you know that this legislation includes a Code of Ethics that all registrants must follow?  RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) is the body that administers the legislation on behalf of the Government of Ontario. RECO’s mission is to promote a safe and informed real estate market for consumers in Ontario through effective and innovative regulation of the services offered by those who trade in real estate.  It enforces the standards, establishes education, administers insurance requirements, and addresses inquiries, concerns and complaints among many other responsibilities pertaining to the real estate industry.  Were you aware that this legislation has recently been updated and amended in order to further protect your consumer rights?  As of December 1, 2023 the legislation that governs real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons in Ontario is now called Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002 (TRESA), formerly Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA).

The major changes pertain to but are limited to, terminology and representation; that is, the consumer is now either referred to as a Client or a “a self-represented party”.   According to the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) “for most consumers the distinction between a Client and a Customer was difficult to understand.  It is unlikely they understood they would be underrepresented as a Customer and that the Registrant (Broker or Salesperson) would not be required to serve their best interests.”

Both Sellers and Buyers have always had options with regards to how they prefer to be represented in a transaction by the registrant; they were either a Client or a Customer.  Now, the term “engagement options” has been adopted to ensure the consumer understands their two options.   Another change is that “a Salesperson can now only assist a self-represented party if they also represent a Client in the same transaction; otherwise, they will not interact with them.”  Additionally, the legislation now offers Seller Clients new options regarding competing offers; “if directed by their Client, a Representative may now disclose information about competing written offers (i.e. the amount of the other offers).  They must not, however, disclose any personal information of the person making the competing offer or any information that would identify the person making the offer.” What hasn’t changed but has been further clarified in the legislation, is the fact that Services, Representation and Best Interests are for Clients only

A new guide for Ontarians regarding real estate has now been introduced.  RECO is currently working on a process to facilitate the electronic delivery of a RECO Information Guide; which is now required to be provided to all consumers prior to or at “the first substantial meeting” with a registrant.  The purpose of providing this guide is to ensure that a person understands their options.

To discover more about your options as a Client or Self-Represented party in a real estate transaction, or if you’re curious about what your home may be worth in today’s ever-changing real estate market, call the relocation experts at Relocation Services Group, toll-free from anywhere in Canada 1-866-865-5504 or email.


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