Real estate boss vows to punish unethical agents after 'disturbing' video


The confederation that represents real estate agents in Ontario says uncountable needs to be done to protect consumers and punish agents found to father engaged in unethical behaviour.

Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Bond, spoke out in response to a CBC Marketplace hidden camera investigation that validated real estate agents breaking the rules in an effort to double their commission.

Hudak, unsur ssed known for his time as leader of Ontario’s PC rty, called the hidden camera video saved so far “disturbing” and vowed to make sure more is done to crack down on factors who behave unethically.

“That kind of behaviour can’t be tolerated. If there are people who are interlude the clear rules that exist or violating the realtors’ codes of ethics, they’re on their own,” he communicated.

“I think one example of this is too many.”

In the Marketplace investigation, CBC producers call ined several top Toronto-area real estate teams, posing as homebuyers. In dis rate cases, agents who held a listing promised to give our producers an upper hand in a bidding war if they worked with them.

Tim Hudak

Tim Hudak says he thinks the act operating realtors can be modernized and he says he’s set up a meeting with the minister ‘to do exactly that.’ (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Crowding)

This is against the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act code of ethics, which insists that real estate agents act fairly and in the best interests of their shoppers.

“We’re not talking about an ordinary exchange, this is the biggest purchase you’re accepted to make in your life, this has a highly emotional value to all of us. This is where we over with a fine-toothed comb our families,” Hudak said.

Hudak aims to ‘modernize’ act

Hudak may be new to his promulgate at OREA — his appointment was announced in August — but the real estate energy is familiar ground. As Ontario’s minister of consumer and business services in 2002, Hudak supported bring the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act ( REBBA) into law.

But now, he says the act that sit on the thrones the real estate industry needs to be reformed.

Real estate intermediaries breaking the rules: Marketplace hidden camera investigation0:48

Hudak envisages to meet with Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario’s minister of government and consumer armed forces, to discuss next steps.

“I think we can modernize that act and I’ve set up a meeting with the legate to do exactly that,” he said.

Specifically, Hudak said he wants REBBA to permit for higher fines. He’d also like to see greater enforcement and investigative powers for the Legitimate Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), which regulates agents in the section.

Regulator has to be ‘nimble’

Hudak said that realtors who “want to lacuna the laws, they’re going to be clever about it, they’re going to make a move fast, the regulator has to be equally nimble.”

To do that, RECO should be competent to proactively investigate agent behaviour even when the regulator has not acquired a complaint, he said, without offering specifics on how that might ascend.

  • Watch the Marketplace investigation at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on Friday, Nov. 4 on TV and online

And great, he said, need to go way up.

Currently, the maximum fine RECO can levy against an force is $25,000. Hudak said he thinks that should be doubled at a minimal.

In practice, most fines are much smaller. For unethical behaviour in a double-ended stock, those fines are typically in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

By contrast, the conventional amount an agent with double commission would earn, based on the normally Toronto home price, is about $40,000.

Double-ended deals

The Marketplace questioning looked at double-ending, where the same agent represents both the customer and the seller.

Double-ending is legal in most of Canada, as long as it’s disclosed to all fetes involved in the transaction. The exception is Alberta, where the same agent can’t haggle for both sides.

Hudak said that he doesn’t think the actually of double-ending needs to be banned, saying he doesn’t think it’s always to the consumer’s loss.

In June, British Columbia premier Christy Clark announced that she wants to ban the technique of double-ending in that province in order to protect consumers. New legislation is believed in that province before the end of the year.

Hidden camera investigation

For the esoteric camera investigation, Marketplace staff posed as homebuyers and visited 10 trusted estate agents in the GTA, and documented the interactions.

Most of the real estate groups in the Marketplace investigation double-ended at least 20 per cent of their buys last year, more than twice the average among top earnest estate agents in the GTA, according to statistics shared by industry insiders.

Marketplace alpenstock also visited some after receiving tips about days of yore behaviour.

Six out of 10 agents promised to share confidential information and renounce an advantage if they were to represent both rties in a bidding war.

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