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More and more licensees are choosing to work as part of a real estate team. When a real estate team member represents a client, their team represents that client as a single entity. This means client information and transaction details can be shared among team members whether each member works directly with the client or not.
BCFSA currently receives complaints and inquiries on matters such as undisclosed teams, dual agency by members of the same team, conflicts of interest, and non-compliant advertising. These are some of the inherent risks even though team members may be trusted colleagues or even your family.
To address these issues, BCFSA recently received the Minister of Finance’s consent to amend the Real Estate Services Rules (“Rules”) to establish a regulatory framework for real estate teams. These amendments are expected to come into effect on April 1, 2023.
Under the amended Rules, a team must consist of two or more licensees who jointly provide trading services to clients through their business practices or agency relationships. Business practices can include advertising under a team name, regularly representing the same client, and doing regular work together in a manner that creates implied agency.
As BCFSA moves to implement the new Rules on April 1, 2023, licensees are encouraged to take a critical look at your current business practices, determine if you are already part of a team, and prepare for the coming changes. Here’s what you need to know:
- If you are a member of an existing registered team with two or more licensed members, you are not required to re-register your team. Your team registration will be carried forward once the new Rules come into effect.
- If you are the only licensed member in a team, you will be required to add at least one other licensed member or cease marketing yourself as a team once the Rules are in force. If you are unable to acquire an additional member by April 1, 2023, your team will be disbanded by BCFSA;
- All unregistered teams will be required to register with BCFSA by April 1, 2023. This includes existing teams of family members who are not currently required to register;
- If you are part of a team, you will be required to provide trading services through your team only. This means that you cannot represent a client on your own, outside of your team; and
- If you are part of a team, you will be required to identify your team name in all advertising.
Licensees that will be disbanding their team, newly registering a team, or changing their marketing materials should begin the applicable process as soon as possible to ensure they are in compliance with the new Rules when they come into force. Registering a team before the enforcement date means that you will not have to pay the application fee. Team registration after April 1, 2023 will cost $50 per team member.
If you suspect an undisclosed team or a dual agency, contact BCFSA’s Practice Standards Advisors to help determine whether filing a complaint would be appropriate.