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BCFSA’s information is clear, concise, easy-to-read explanations of the requirements for real estate professionals under the Real Estate Services Act (“RESA”), Real Estate Services Regulation (“Regulation”), Real Estate Services Rules (“Rules”), and other applicable legislation.
This information is intended for use by real estate professionals, to support their understanding of the standards they must meet in the delivery of real estate services.
While many real estate professionals advertise services that they and their brokerage offer, it is important to remember the Real Estate Services Rules require an owner of the real estate, or you, as an authorized agent of the owner to consent to advertise specific real estate. The Real Estate Services Rules are intended to ensure the public is neither misled nor confused as to who is providing real estate services and to ensure the accuracy of representations being made about real estate and real estate services
(a) Include the Brokerage Name in All Advertising
All advertisements must include your full brokerage name as registered with BCFSA. The brokerage name must be clearly and prominently displayed and in an easily readable form in all advertising. If an address is included in the advertising, it must be the address of the brokerage you are licensed with.
When assessing compliance, BCFSA considers the prominence of the brokerage’s name in relation to the rest of the advertisement and the relative ease with which a consumer can identify the brokerage.
(b) Use Your Legal Name or the Name That Has Been Approved with BCFSA
An advertisement that identifies you as a licensed real estate professional must use your legal name, a short recognizable form of your legal name, or a name approved by BCFSA.
(c) Use the Name of Your Personal Real Estate Corporation If You Have One
If you have a personal real estate corporation, any advertising that identifies you must use your personal real estate corporation name as registered with BCFSA.
When licensing a personal real estate corporation, make sure the legal name is the name you wish to advertise.Learn more about personal real estate corporations
(d) Home and Other Personal Offices
As a real estate professional, you can work from anywhere. While many brokerages have offices for rent, or desks that can be used by real estate professionals licensed with them, some real estate professionals prefer to work from home or rent their own personal office space.
You are not permitted to advertise any address, other than the brokerage address you are licensed with. Your personal office address may also not appear on any other record relating to the provision of real estate services.Learn more about personal offices
You must not publish real estate advertising that you know, or ought to know, contains a false statement or misrepresentation concerning real estate, a trade in real estate, or the provision of real estate services. Specifically:
- Any statements must be current, accurate and verifiable.
- All statements in an advertisement will be taken at face value and interpreted based on their plain meaning.
- False statements are those that can be proven to be factually incorrect.
The intended meaning must be stated in plain language. If you intend to imply something other than what is stated, or if you are aware that the statement could be interpreted in different ways, you must provide some form of disclaimer in the advertisement. If you do not set out the intended meaning or provide a disclaimer the statement could be deemed misleading, deceptive, or inaccurate.
a.) Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”)
CASL came into force in 2014 to address issues in commercial electronic marketing and spam. You must ensure that you are mindful of Canadian anti-spam legislation when sending marketing emails or electronic communication. This includes advertising for the purpose of soliciting new clients and advertising properties for sale or rent.
Referring to the federal government guidelines when sending commercial electronic messages will protect you from fines and possible litigation.Learn more about anti-spam
b.) Competition Act
The Competition Act is federal legislation that contains both criminal and civil provisions targeting anti-competitive practices in the marketplace. You should familiarize yourself with the Competition Act to ensure your business practices cannot be considered anti-competitive (e.g., commission price fixing between brokerages).
The Competition Act also addresses misleading advertising and deceptive practices, similar to the Real Estate Services Act’s (“RESA”) guidelines. Please visit the following link for more information.
c.) Canada’s National Do Not Call List (“DNCL”)
The National Do Not Call List was created to give consumers a say in whether they wish to receive telemarketing calls. Consumers can add their personal telephone numbers including landlines, cell phones, faxes and VoIPs to the list if they do not want to receive unsolicited calls from organizations. You should review this legislation to determine whether unsolicited calls or cold calling will violate a consumer’s wishes to not be contacted. Please visit the following link for further information.