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Off the Clock? Your Conduct Still Counts

If you type “real estate B.C. conduct unbecoming” into a Google search and hit the news tab, you’ll find stories of licensees who have had to learn the hard way that their behaviour on or off the job—conduct unbecoming a licensee—might cost them their licence not to mention their reputation.

Defining Conduct Unbecoming 

Conduct Unbecoming is when a licensee engages in any conduct that, in the judgement of the Superintendent of Real Estate:

  • Is contrary to the best interests of the public;
  • Undermines public confidence in the real estate industry; or
  • Brings the real estate industry into disrepute.

This applies to anyone holding a B.C. real estate licence who commits such conduct, even during their personal time. Other jurisdictions, like Alberta, also have the same legal principles as the Real Estate Services Act in B.C.

Lessons Learned  

Driving under the influence, Alberta:

A licensee was involved in a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol. Even though they weren’t on the job when it happened, the licensee was found to be in breach of the Real Estate Act of Alberta for conduct unbecoming and bringing the industry into disrepute.

Forged invoices, B.C.:

A licensee was found to have knowingly created and submitted false invoices with the intent to defraud his employer. Under the Real Estate Services Act, his conduct was deemed to be contrary to the best interests of the public and could undermine public confidence in the industry.

Conduct Unbecoming While on the Job 

Conduct unbecoming also applies to licensees while they are providing services to a client. As a licensee, you are responsible for providing a high standard of real estate services to consumers. Your actions and behaviour on the job and off impact how the public view real estate licensees and can impact their confidence in the real estate industry as a whole.

Your Duty to Report Misconduct 

Licensees have a duty to report misconduct, both of another licensee or unlicensed employee at your brokerage, but also your own misconduct. The Real Estate Services Rules require you to report any misconduct to your managing broker that might put consumers at risk.

Failure to report the misconduct to your managing broker and/or a failure by your managing broker to take reasonable steps to resolve the matter may be considered professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming. Read more about this obligation here: Duty to Report | BCFSA.