Licensing Exemptions Information

Information
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1. General Exemptions from Licensing

A person does not require a licence to provide real estate services to themselves (e.g. by selling or renting out their own property). However, a person must not provide real estate services to or on behalf of another, for or in expectation of remuneration, unless the person is licensed to provide those real estate services, or exempted by from the requirement to be licensed in relation to the provision of those real estate services.

Remuneration is broadly defined under the Real Estate Services Act, and includes any form of remuneration, including any commission, fee, gain or reward, whether the remuneration is received, or is to be received, directly or indirectly. More information about remuneration and noncompliant unlicensed real estate services can be accessed at the following Superintendent of Real Estate regulatory advisory: indirect-remuneration-and-provision-real-estate-services-advisory.pdf (bcfsa.ca)

A.) Exemption for employees of a principal

If an unlicensed person wishes to offer real estate trading services to their employer, they are exempt under RESA from requiring a licence. The individual must be an employee of the principal and can not be an independent contractor or third-party company contracted out by the principal. The individual is also not permitted to provide services for anyone other than that principal.

An example of this would be an owner of a corporation that owns real property who tasks one of their employees to sell the property on behalf of the corporation. In this case it is like an owner of a property selling their own property.

Please note: the Real Estate Services Act does not contain a specific definition for “employee.” In order to determine whether a person is an employee under the Act, common law and civil law tests will apply. This may include, but is not limited to, the presence of an employee-employer relationship for Canada Revenue Tax purposes (i.e. a T4 statement), employer-coordinated WorkSafeBC program, and other factors set out in the common law.

B.) Exemption for collection agents

Any collection agent who is licensed under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act is exempt from licensing in performance of their duties as a collection agent which are outlined in that legislation. Collection agents must not provide real estate services outside of their role as collection agent as defined in the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

C.) Exemption respecting mining

Those who provide real estate services in respect of a mine as defined under the Mines Act, Coal Act, and Mineral Tenure Act are exempt from the licensing requirements under RESA. Those who provide real estate services in respect of a well under the Geothermal Act are also exempt.

If an individual provides real estate services in relation to a claim, grant lease or licensed under the Mineral Tenure Act, Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, Oil and Gas Activities Act, or the Geothermal Resources Act, they are also exempt from licensing requirements.

D.) Exemptions for government and government corporations

Federal, provincial, and municipal governments often purchase and sell real estate for their use or assist other government agencies with the acquisition or disposition of real estate. For those transactions, government employees are exempt from licensing requirements.

Government employees may not claim this exemption to help third party organizations or individuals purchase or sell real estate or manage rental properties on their behalf.

2. Trading Services Exemptions

A.) Exemptions for employees of a developer

Those employed by developers are exempt from the licensing requirement if the trading services they provide are in respect of a development unit and defined under REDMA. Employees of a holding company of the developer are also exempt from licensing requirements as long as the trading services are only provided on behalf of the developer.

These employees are not permitted to offer trading services on behalf of any other party, aside from the developer. This means they cannot represent a buyer in the sale of one of the development units.

Buyers must be represented by either a licensed real estate professional, or they must be unrepresented parties to the transaction.

In any case, an employee of a developer or holding company of the developer must disclose to each principal in a transaction that they are not licensed under RESA, who they are employed by and that they are employed by the developer or developer’s holding company and do not represent any other

party to the transaction. This disclosure must be made promptly and before any agreement to purchase or sell real estate is entered into. The disclosure must be in writing and be separate from the contract of purchase and sale and separate from the disclosure statement required under REDMA.

Other industry participants who can claim licensing exemptions include:

B.) Exemption for other industries

  1. Notary Publics: Notary members who are part of the Societies of Notaries Public of BC and are in good standing are exempt from licensing in respect of trading services, if the trades are provided in the course of their duties under the Notaries Act.
  2. Chartered Professional Accountants: Licensed CPAs are exempt from licensing in respect of trading services only if the trade relates to the purchase or sale of a business, and the purchase and sale arises as part of their practice of public accounting.
  3. Appraisers and Property Inspectors: Those who offer trading services by providing and consulting with consumers on the value of their home or provide inspections of the condition of a home are exempt from licensing in relation their rules as appraisers and inspectors.
  4. Other Exemptions: The following are exempt from licensing requirements under RESA as it relates to providing trading services:
    1. a person acting under the authority of a court;
    2. a trustee in bankruptcy, custodian, receiver, receiver manager or liquidator who is appointed under a provincial or federal enactment, in respect of real estate services undertaken by the person in that capacity;
    3. an executor or administrator of an estate, in respect of real estate services provided in relation to real estate owned or held by the estate;
    4. a trustee, in respect of real estate services provided under the terms of a will, marriage settlement or deed of trust;
    5. a financial institution that has a trust business authorization under the Financial Institutions Act, in respect of real estate services provided in relation to real estate that it owns, holds or administers;
    6. a practising lawyer as defined in section 1 of the Legal Profession Act, in respect of real estate services provided in the course of the person’s practice.
  5. Auctioneers: Auctioneers are only exempt from requiring a trading services license if they do not show the real estate, engage in any discussions with a party to the trade, or provide any information to a party to the trade respecting the real estate or its disposition. They may only provide information related to the auction procedures and required conduct.

If they wish to advertise the auction and there is no licensee who has listed the property, they may only advertise the name of the seller and how potential buyers can contact them. If there is a licensee representing the seller, they may provide the name and contact information for that licensee.

Auctioneers are also prohibited from taking deposits or any other money payable by a potential buyer.

C.) Exemption for providing information only and for providing referrals

If a person is providing trading services only by providing factual information, and no advice, they are exempt from licensing requirements. This may include material and other general information that is produced to assist owners to sell their own properties (such as marketing materials). The advertisement must be in relation to a specific property.

Likewise, an individual does not have to be licensed in order to make a referral of a client to a licensee. The caveat is that the individual cannot do anything that requires a licence (for example soliciting a referral) in order to make a referral and making referrals and receiving referral fees must be incidental to the person’s main business. For more information on indirect remuneration and the provision of real estate services click here.

D.) Exemption for agents of expropriating authorities

Any person who is providing trading services on behalf of an expropriating authority in relation to that authority’s acquisition of real estate is exempt from the requirement to be licensed.

That person may only receive remuneration consisting of a fixed fee, per diem rate or hourly rate. They may not receive or hold deposits in relation to the real estate and must disclose to every other party to the transaction that they are not licensed under RESA, that they are acting on behalf of the expropriating authority and provide the name of their employer.

3. Rental Property Management Exemptions

A.) Exemption for caretakers providing services to different owners

Individuals who are employed as a caretaker or manager of residential real estate and are employed directly by the owner are exempt from licensing requirements. This means that independent contractors are not covered under the exemption. Exempt individuals may only provide rental management services for properties owed by the employer and not third parties.

Any money received in relation to the rental management activities, including rent, security deposits or pet damage deposits, must be promptly delivered to the property owner.

B.) Exemption for caretakers employed by the brokerage

An individual who is employed by a licensed brokerage a as a caretaker or manager of rental real estate is exempt from licensing for only the following activities:

  1. Collecting money including rent, security deposits and pet damage deposits so long as the money is promptly turned over to the brokerage;
  2. Showing real estate to prospective tenants;
  3. Receiving and presenting applications from prospective tenants;
  4. Supervising employees or contractors hired or engaged by the brokerage;
  5. Communicating between landlords and tenants respecting landlord and tenant matters.

This exemption does not, however, permit the caretaker or manager to negotiate or enter into contracts on behalf of the brokerage or the property owner. This includes move-in and move-out inspections.

Please note, with respect to A and B: the Real Estate Services Act does not contain a specific definition for “employee.” In order to determine whether a person is an employee under the Act, common law and civil law tests will apply. This may include, but is not limited to, the presence of an employee-employer relationship for Canada Revenue Tax purposes (i.e. a T4 statement), employer-coordinated WorkSafeBC program, and other factors set out in the common law.

C.) Exemption for BCHMC Housing

Any individual who provides rental property management services for properties administered by the British Columbia Housing Management Commission, and where the property is rented to tenants based on their income, is exempt from the licensing requirements under RESA.

If a non-profit organization has entered into an agreement with BCHMC and is providing rental property management services in relation to a property administered by BCHMC based on a tenant’s income, they are also exempt from licensing requirements.

D.) Exemption in relation to assignment of rents

A savings institution, or mortgage broker under the Mortgage Brokers Act is exempt from rental property management licensing only if the savings institution or mortgage broker is acting on behalf of a person who has granted an assignment of rents to that savings institution or mortgage broker.

4. Strata Management Exemptions

A.) Exemption for strata lot owners

Owners of strata lots (as defined in the Strata Property Act) in a strata corporation are exempt from strata management licensing obligations when they provide strata management services to the corporation in which they are a member. These services may include sitting on a strata council or providing full strata management services.

Strata lot owners may only provide strata management services to no more than two strata corporations (and must own units in both). On receipt of any strata fees, contributions, or levies, the strata lot owner must promptly turn over the funds to the strata corporation.

B.) Exemption for strata caretakers employed by strata corporation or brokerage

Caretaker employees of a strata corporation or a strata management brokerage are exempt from the licensing requirements to provide strata management services in respect of collecting strata fees, contributions, and levies due to the strata corporation under the Strata Property Act.

Any funds collected must promptly be turned over to the brokerage or the strata corporation. It is important to note that the strata caretaker cannot provide any other strata management services that require a license.

Please note: the Real Estate Services Act does not contain a specific definition for “employee.” In order to determine whether a person is an employee under the Act, common law and civil law tests will apply. This may include, but is not limited to, the presence of an employee-employer relationship for Canada Revenue Tax purposes (i.e. a T4 statement), employer-coordinated WorkSafeBC program, and other factors set out in the common law.

C.) Exemption for owner developers

Owner developers as defined under SPA are exempt from licensing until control of the strata corporation money is required to be transferred under the provisions of SPA.