This article looks at some of the new real estate regulations the B.C. government plans to introduce.

As Global News recently reported, the British Columbia government has announced the appointment of a new superintendent of real estate for the province. The announcement of the position signals an end to years of self-regulation for the real estate industry and is a key move following a report earlier this year into industry practices. The government has promised to introduce more oversight and regulation of the industry, moves that may help protect homebuyers and sellers following criticism that high home prices had opened the door to abusive practices by unscrupulous agents.

New superintendent

The appointment of the superintendent of real estate follows the announcement earlier this year that the real estate industry would no longer be permitted to self-regulate. The superintendent position is a government office designed to oversee the regulation of the real estate industry. Previously, real estate regulation had been conducted by the industry itself through the Real Estate Council of B.C.

More changes coming

The new superintendent position is only the latest in a series of government moves designed to bring greater regulation to what has been, until recently, a red-hot real estate market. As CBC News reports, an independent advisory panel earlier this year recommended that the maximum fine for real estate agents who break the rules be increased to $250,000 from the current maximum of $10,000.

The panel also recommended an end to the practice of “shadow flipping.” During shadow flipping the contract for a home sale is assigned to multiple parties prior to the final contract being settled. The original seller is often left unaware that multiple real estate agents have profited through the process. The provincial government has already introduced some new measures so that sellers are provided with more information about the parties involved in the transaction.

The panel made a number of other recommendations, including prohibiting dual agency whereby a single realtor represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. Additionally, the panel called for greater oversight of aggressive tactics employed by some real estate agents, such as those who continuously solicit homeowners in areas with high real estate values.

Getting legal advice

Real estate in Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland remains a hot topic of conversation. As more regulations are introduced, it is important for both buyers and sellers to ensure they follow any new and incoming legal requirements. Those new regulations can present challenges to anybody involved in a real estate transaction, but at the end of the day abiding by the rules and regulations is extremely important. An experienced real estate lawyer can help buyers and sellers through a residential real estate transaction in a way that gives them greater peace of mind.