ARELLO News Archive

Canada’s Tough New Anti-Spam Laws

The Canadian government is reportedly close to finalizing regulations that will enter into force the nation's new anti-spam legislation, which some industry observers are calling the toughest of its kind in the world. The legislation, commonly referred to as Canada's Anti-Spam Law or "CASL", applies to a broad range of commercial communications, including those of real estate agents, and carries potentially severe penalties.

For the full article, please log in to access the April 2012 Boundaries; click HERE.

New Zealand Advises Licensees to Check Property Titles

The New Zealand Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) is reminding licensees to be aware of their responsibility to check the titles of properties that they market for sale. The reminder and an accompanying REAA Information Sheet on the subject arose from a New Zealand Disciplinary Tribunal guidance decision that establishes the duty of licensees to perform a title search, or cause one to be performed, and be familiar with the resulting information.

To view the full article, please log in to access the June 2012 Boundaries; click HERE.

British Columbia Requires Referral Fee Recordkeeping

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has promulgated new rules that, effective July 1, 2012, require real estate brokerages to prepare and maintain records specifically relating to referral fees that are paid or received by licensees.

As explained in the Council's Professional Services Manual, "Some licensees pay or receive referral fees. Typically, referral fees are paid by a licensee for receiving a 'lead' which results in the licensee earning remuneration. A licensee might receive a referral fee for referring a client to another licensee or a service provider if that client uses the services of that other person."

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Real Estate Council of Alberta Takes Over Delivery of Pre-Licensing Education Programs

In a recent news release and its The Regulator publication, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) announced that it will soon complete the process of assuming responsibility for all real estate pre-licensing education programs.

When the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) was established in 1996, its mandate included responsibility for both pre-licensing and re-licensing education. At the time, RECA was not in a position to assume all aspects of this responsibility and looked to Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) for continued participation in curriculum development, course registration and administration. AREA, a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), is the provincial industry organization that represents the interests of Alberta REALTORS® through its 11 regional real estate boards.

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Update: Canadian Regulators Address Limited Services, "Mere Postings" Consent Agreement

Provincial real estate regulators were not a party to the recent consent agreement between the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Canadian Competition Bureau (the Bureau) under which "mere postings" are to be allowed on CREA's MLS® system. Nonetheless, several regulators have generated information about the potential interaction between their respective provincial licensing laws and the terms of the agreement.

The consent agreement settled the Bureau's allegations that CREA's multiple listing service (MLS®) rules violated Canada's Competition Act, a federal law designed to prevent anti-competitive practices in the marketplace. Among other things, CREA agreed not to restrict its members from providing "mere postings" for sellers, or discriminate against members who offer that limited service. The term "mere posting" is defined in the consent agreement as a listing "... in respect of which the Member has chosen or agreed not to provide services to the Seller other than submitting the listing for posting on a [CREA] Member Board's MLS® System."

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) pointed out in a summary...

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Update: Australia's National Licensing System Moves Forward

Australia's National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) for estate agents and several other occupations is moving toward a target implementation date of July 2012. Under the NOLS, licence holders in selected occupations will be able to perform work in any Australian state or territory with a single national licence. Proponents believe that the new system will reduce red tape, improve business efficiency and contribute to the competitiveness and productivity of Australia's national economy. By July 2012, the new system will encompass four occupational areas: electrical, plumbing and gas fitting, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, and property occupations. As soon as possible after July 2013, the system will encompass building and building related occupations, land transport, maritime occupations, conveyancers and valuers.

To view the full article, please log in to access the March 2011 Boundaries; click HERE.

Real Estate Council of Alberta Launches New Social Media Tools

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is continuing its efforts to enhance communications with industry members and consumers through new digital media formats that include the recent launch of its blog site, RECABLOG.

RECABLOG not only enables broadcasts of timely information, but also promotes a more personal connection through responsive entries posted by users. RECA used Twitter to conduct a poll of industry members regarding suggested topics for the blog site, which resulted in featured categories such as "Legally Speaking", in which lawyers discuss applicable legal issues; "ETalk", focusing on ethical issues; and "The Current", which carries posts and responses about current news and industry events, change notices and their effect on the industry and "best practices" tips. ...

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Singapore Implements Estate Agent Licensing System

After two years of public consultations, proclamation of new legislation and extensive transition efforts, the Republic of Singapore has successfully implemented a robust real estate licensing system that will raise the professionalism of the real estate industry and better safeguard consumer interests.

Prior to the enactment of the Republic's Estate Agent Bill 2010, estate agents were required to register with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), but individuals working for estate agents were unregulated. Amid reports of unethical conduct by some individuals and a perceived lack of training and transactional experience in the industry, then-Minister for National Development (MND), Mr. Mah Bow Tan, said in March 2009 that the status quo was unsatisfactory and no longer tenable. The 2010 legislation created a new Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), which is organized under the MND and is implementing the new laws. Key elements of the legislation include enhanced licensing conditions for estate agents, registration of individual salespersons, new regulations on the conduct of estate agency work, mechanisms for dispute resolution and discipline, and public education. ...

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Canada's Competition Bureau Sues Toronto REALTORS® Over VOW Policies

Over the years, the efforts of U.S. and Canadian officials to enforce federal laws prohibiting anti-competitive market conduct have focused, in part, on both the real estate industry and the regulatory entities that oversee it. In the U.S., federal agencies have filed lawsuits and undertaken other efforts against website rules, limited-service brokerage model restrictions and other policies of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), some of its member associations and several multiple listing service (MLS) operators. And, as several ARELLO® member jurisdictions have experienced, federal agencies have also attacked real estate licensing laws, rules and policies that limit consumer rebates and impose certain "minimum services" transactional duties on licensees. In Canada, the federal Competition Bureau (the Bureau) recently reached a settlement agreement with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) after a prolonged investigation and litigation revolving around the association's restrictions against "mere postings" listings and related policies. In its latest effort, the Bureau has filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), alleging that its MLS rules unlawfully prohibit real estate agents from using virtual office websites (VOWs).

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Western Australia Eliminates the Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board

In accordance with the Acts Amendment (Fair Trading) Act 2010, enacted by the Parliament of Western Australia, the Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board (REBA) and three other Western Australia regulatory agencies ceased operations effective July 1, 2011. The legislation transfers REBA's responsibility for regulation of the real estate and business brokering industry to the state Department of Commerce (the Department) and the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. Other agencies affected by the legislation include the Land Valuers Licensing Board, the Settlement Agents Supervisory Board and the Motor Vehicle Industry Board.

To view the full article, please log in to access the July 2011 Boundaries; click HERE.

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