ARELLO News Archive

Realtor.com Goes Global

In early November, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) announced the launch of its new international real estate listings web site, www.Realtor.com/International. NAR said that the initial launch will deliver 4.4 million for-sale property listings from its www.Realtor.com web site to buyers around the world, and will include non-U.S. residential property listings fed to the site by foreign content providers. NAR also said that the move will extend the market share lead of www.realtor.com, which it calls "The number-one ranked U.S. homes-for-sale web site in the U.S."

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

Hong Kong EAA Focuses on Personal Data Protection

According to a circular issued by the Estate Agency Authority (EAA), the use of customers' personal data for direct marketing by business entities in contravention of Hong Kong's Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO) has recently aroused considerable public concern. Consequently, the EAA has issued a circular, effective October 1, 2011, that explains the manner in which estate agency practitioners must comply with the PDPO, including provisions relating to direct marketing.

Hong Kong's PDPO regulates the collection, handling and use of protected personal data by both private and public persons and entities and is considered by some to be one of the more advanced privacy laws in Asia. The ordinance revolves around six "Data Privacy Principles" (DPPs) that address collection, accuracy and retention, use, security, information about privacy data policies and practices to be made generally available, and the right of access to personal data by the "data subject".

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

Victoria Regulates Residential Tenancy Databases

Victoria recently became the latest Australian state to enact legislation regulating the use and operation of "residential tenancy databases" (RTDs) that are widely used by property owners, estate agents and others to screen potential tenants. Several other Australian states and territories have enacted RTD legislation in accordance with a national legislative model that was generated to establish consistent state and territorial regulatory schemes that address fairness and other concerns that have arisen about the operation and use of the databases.

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

Manitoba Strengthens Buyer Protections with New Property Disclosure Statement, Inspection Clauses

The Manitoba Securities Commission recently amended its "Residential Form of Offer to Purchase" to give buyers an opportunity to make more informed decisions about the condition of a property before they finalize their purchase. The new form, which real estate registrants are required to use under the provincial Real Estate Brokers Act, now includes a provision for a "Property Disclosure Statement" (PDS) to be signed by the seller that deals with various areas of concern about the subject property. According to the Commission, while a PDS has been available in the past, it has not been widely used. By including a clause in the Offer to Purchase that automatically requires a PDS, as well as a new clause that allows a buyer to condition the contract upon receipt of a satisfactory property inspection, the Commission believes that more buyers will take advantage of the opportunity to protect their interests.

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

Ontario Cautions Registrants About Real Estate "Group Coupons"

Online group coupon offers can provide significant discounts on a wide variety of products and services and have become very popular with consumers over the last several years. An increasing number of group coupon websites are creating opportunities for real estate brokers to market their services through the online sale of coupons for various real estate transaction discounts. The growing popularity of such tools recently prompted the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) to caution its registrants about using such programs to advertise their services.

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

South Africa Extends Unregistered Activity Amnesty Program

An innovative amnesty program launched by South Africa's Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) to bring illegally operating estate agents into compliance with the Estate Agency Affairs Act (the Act) was scheduled to end on July 15th, but has been extended for an additional three months.

The program was developed through an Amnesty Policy under which the EAAB resolved that bringing unregistered estate agent operators into compliance with South Africa's estate agency laws is a more desirable approach than simply seeking punishment and better serves the long-term interests of both consumers and the estate agency profession. Considering the potentially large numbers of offenders, a secondary purpose of the EAAB's Amnesty Policy is to avoid, where possible, expensive and time-consuming criminal prosecutions and encourage offenders to come forward and regularize their estate agent activities, thereby "...promot[ing] a climate of transparency and reconciliation between the EAAB, offenders and economic citizens."

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

"It Pays to Play Fair and Proper": Hong Kong's Integrity Management Programme for the Estate Agency Trade

The Estate Agents Authority (EAA) of Hong Kong, acting in concert with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), has launched a three-year programme that is designed to strengthen the professional ethics of estate agency managers and frontline staff.

At a March 2011 ceremony announcing the launch of the "Integrity Management Programme for the Estate Agency Trade" EAA chair, Ms. Vivien Chan, said that a culture of probity would be of utmost importance to effective corporate governance, which contributes to the healthy and sustainable development of the real estate market and Hong Kong's economy at large. Ms. Chan noted that, in addition to the requirement of abiding by the law, cultivating a culture of integrity would require a long-term effort and that the programme would promote cooperation and interactive synergy among the EAA, ICAC and the estate agency trade. "We are certain that integrity is a key element in enhancing competitive advantage in a highly competitive business environment", Ms. Chan said.

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

British Columbia's Guide to Working With a Strata Management Company

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) has published a valuable guide for strata management corporations that engage licensed brokerages to perform strata management services. In addition to highlighting applicable laws and regulations, RECBC's guide to Working With a Strata Management Company provides a wealth of practical information about the management role that licensed brokerages can play and their working relationships with strata corporations and their respective councils.

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

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.

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).

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

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