Discipline Process

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BCFSA has authority under the Real Estate Services Act, Real Estate Services Regulation, and Real Estate Services Rules to investigate the conduct and competence of licensees.

Here you will find information on BCFSA’s administrative, regulatory, and discipline procedures to assist complainants and licensees who are responding to complaints. BCFSA’s goal is to ensure that all administrative, regulatory and discipline processes relating to professional conduct are handled in a uniform and fair manner.

  • BCFSA is a regulatory agency established by the provincial government. Its mandate includes protecting the public by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act.

    BCFSA is responsible for:

    • Licensing individuals and brokerages engaged in real estate sales, rental property management and strata management activities;
    • Monitoring and enforcing entry qualifications;
    • Investigating complaints against licensees related to possible professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a professional;
    • Licensing individuals and brokerages engaged in real estate sales, rental property management and strata management activities;
    • Monitoring and enforcing entry qualifications; and
    • Investigating complaints against licensees related to possible professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a professional.

    BCFSA does not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate monetary or contract matters or assess or award damages, all of which come under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. Anyone who seeks to deal with monetary or contract matters must pursue a civil remedy through legal proceedings.

  • Consumers who are concerned about the actions or services provided by a licensee should take these steps before filing a complaint or making an anonymous tip to BCFSA.

    • Discuss the concern with the licensee.
    • If the matter is still not resolved, discuss the concern with the managing broker in charge of the brokerage.
    • If the managing broker is not able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, consider contacting an BCFSA Practice Standards Advisor. They can provide information about the services to expect from licensees and answer questions about real estate transactions.
  • Strata management is an activity for which a real estate licence is required* and the conduct of licensed strata managers is subject to the requirements of the Real Estate Services Act, over which BCFSA has jurisdiction. However, the Strata Property Act, the legislation that governs the rights and obligations of strata corporations, strata councils and strata owners, remains a self-administered statute and there are no enforcement provisions for the Government of BC or BCFSA. Under the Strata Property Act, it is up to the owners themselves, with the possible assistance of the courts or an arbitrator and/or mediator, to resolve disputes and ensure compliance with the provisions of the Strata Property Act.

    Strata managers act under the direction of the strata council of the strata corporation, by which they are engaged. It is the strata corporation as a whole that is the client of the strata manager, not the individual owners. Therefore, if individual strata owners have concerns about a strata manager, they are advised to first take their concerns to their strata council for resolution and any action the strata council may see fit to take. This may include the strata council submitting a complaint to BCFSA with respect to the conduct of the strata manager if the strata council believes the strata manager has committed professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a licensee under the Real Estate Services Act.

    In most cases, BCFSA requires complaints regarding the performance of licensed strata managers to be submitted by strata councils, accompanied by a copy of the minutes of the strata council meeting that confirms the passing of a motion to submit such a complaint to BCFSA. Notwithstanding the above policy, BCFSA will on a case-by-case basis investigate a complaint by an individual if the individual provides sufficient evidence, or where BCFSA identifies during a preliminary enquiry, that the licensee may have committed professional misconduct as defined in the Real Estate Services Act.

    *There is provision in the Real Estate Services Act that exempts a self-managed strata corporation from the licensing requirements when an owner is providing the strata management services. The owner is limited to managing no more than two strata corporations, provided the owner owns a strata lot in each of the strata corporations. In addition, a strata caretaker employed by a strata corporation or a caretaker employed by a brokerage providing strata management services is also exempt from the licensing requirements so long as certain conditions are met.

  • For concerns that cannot be resolved informally, direct your complaint to BCFSA’s File a Real Estate Complaint page. Here you will find information on how to file a real estate complaint online or in writing, including for possible professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a professional.

    Complainants and any other witnesses called by BCFSA will receive reasonable and necessary travelling and lodging expenses in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules.

    Please note that in some cases when complaints are received from outside the province, BCFSA may require complainants to agree to attend a discipline hearing should a hearing be ordered.

  • We carefully review the complaints we receive, to determine whether:

    • BCFSA has jurisdiction to act;
    • The complaint can be informally resolved;
    • The complainant is aware that BCFSA cannot remedy a civil wrong;
    • The complainant understands the professional and ethical responsibilities of the licensee in the particular transaction; and
    • The complainant has included with their complaint all information and documentation sufficient for the commencement of an investigation, if necessary.

    An BCFSA Investigator may telephone the complainant at the initial complaint assessment stage to develop a better understanding of the issues surrounding the complaint and to ensure that the complainant understands BCFSA’s investigation and discipline processes.

    After an initial assessment of each complaint has been made, an BCFSA Investigator may advise the complainant:

    • Their specific complaint will not be investigated at this time because similar complaints are the subject of investigation;
    • A copy of the complaint will be provided to the licensee; and/or
    • The complainant will be advised of the outcome.
  • A summary of the complaint will be sent to the licensee involved, as well as to the managing broker at the brokerage where they are engaged. The licensee must provide a written response to the complaint against them. BCFSA may request that the licensee respond to questions posed by BCFSA about the matters that gave rise to the complaint or other concerns arising from the complaint.

    The licensee and their managing broker are also asked to provide copies of all documents and records that relate to the complaint. The licensee is advised that their response, or questions arising from their response, may be forwarded to the complainants for their comments in order to assist BCFSA with its investigation.

    BCFSA is bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of British Columbia when releasing documents to any party.

  • There is no appeal from a decision by BCFSA to close a complaint under the Real Estate Services Act. A complainant that is not satisfied with the decision BCFSA to close a complaint may wish to seek legal advice as to whether they may pursue a review of that decision under the Judicial Review Procedure Act.

    Please note, BCFSA cannot provide legal advice or assistance with respect to an application pursuant to the Judicial Review Procedure Act.

  • A consumer who believes that BCFSA’s investigation or discipline process has not dealt fairly with their complaint may contact the Office of the Ombudsperson.

    Call: (800) 567-3247

    By mail: 947 Fort Street, PO Box 9039 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W 9A5

    Email: [email protected]

    Online: www.bcombudsperson.ca