After weeks of acrimonious headlines and months of finger-pointing, there’s been a few developments that should eventually help ease skyrocketing Vancouver home prices.
At the end of March, the president of Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the provincial trade association that represents British Columbia (BC) ’s realtors, wrote an open letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, criticizing the government’s decision to take steps to end the controversial practice of shadow flipping.
During that same week, REBGV members gathered at their annual general meeting. At the meeting, 80% of the members voted to increase the fines for realtor misconduct.
Up until now, the maximum fine that could be levied against a realtor that had ethically or legally strayed from regulations that govern their conduct was $10,000.
Starting early April, this fine tripled to $30,000, said new REBGV president, Dan Morrison. His rationale: “The penalty of $10,000 is almost becoming the cost of doing business to some people. We need to raise that, because it’s not much of a deterrent right now.”
The change to these fines came 18 months after the issue was first raised with REBGV.
Only a few weeks later, the B.C. Real Estate Association started work on the amalgamation of the 11 provincial real estate boards that currently operate in the province, including the REBGV and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
BCREA is the professional association that represents more than 20,000 licensed realtors that operated in the province. The end goal of the amalgamation is to create one single organization and help raise the standards of the profession.
B.C. Real Estate Association CEO Robert Laing said it’s the job of Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC), the regulatory agency established by the provincial government in 1958, to police provincial real estate laws that protect the public. As such, his association is looking into creating a mandate of stricter educational requirements in order for member-boards to belong to the organization, while streamlining and stiffening its own internal discipline and providing protection for whistle blowers.
The really good news is that the proposed amalgamation will help reduce the costs of running these boards by $10 million per year, due to an elimination of duplication. That’s money that can easily put towards developing stricter regulations, better enforcement and a more transparent system.
Even with all the proposed and actual changes by provincial real estate associations and boards, one Richmond, B.C. brokerage decided to take the initiative and ban shadow flipping.