Cooling Off Periods and Consumer Protection

residential homes from above near a river

On August 1, 2021, BCFSA became the single regulator for the financial services sector in B.C., including real estate services. Ensuring public protection and promoting confidence in B.C.’s real estate market is a key priority.

As part of the decision to introduce a mandatory cooling off period for residential real estate transactions, the Minister of Finance has asked BCFSA to consult with key industry stakeholders and experts to determine the parameters of this new measure. The Province has also instructed BCFSA to look into and consult on other potential changes to help protect consumers, including the practice of blind bidding. BCFSA will report back to the Minister of Finance with its findings and advice in early Spring 2022.

  • A cooling off period gives buyers time to undertake due diligence when making a property purchase and provides the right to withdraw from a purchase agreement within a specified period of time after an offer is accepted.  

  • Yes. The Real Estate Development Marketing Act (“REDMA”) provides for a seven-day rescission period for sales of units in multi-unit development properties, like condominiums.  

    BCFSA will be looking at specific parameters for a cooling off period for newly built and resale home sales not captured by REDMA. 

  • BCFSA’s mandate is to regulate real estate brokerages and licensees, and to help protect consumers in the real estate market. 

    Our upcoming consultations with experts and key industry stakeholders will help provide advice on further specific actions to help enhance consumer protections.  

    Some of the concerns we are focused on also include:  

    • “blind bidding”, which is when home buyers submit offers to sellers and sellers choose not to disclose the details of competing bids; 
    • “price baiting”, which is when properties are listed with artificially low listing prices in order to garner interest and encourage multiple offers; and 
    • risks to buyers associated with unconditional offers. 
  • B.C. will be the first Canadian jurisdictions to legislate cooling off periods for all residential real estate sales. 

In the coming weeks BCFSA will be engaging with industry associations, including real estate boards. For those seeking to provide input, you may email [email protected]. All communications received will be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for consideration.