Court rules against TREB data restrictions

Realtors in Toronto will be allowed greater use of data from the region’s real estate board including displaying historical listings and sales prices on virtual office websites.

The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld last year’s Commission Tribunal which ruled Toronto Real Estate Board’s restrictions on members in their use of the board’s MLS data.

Competition commissioner John Pecman said after Friday’s court ruling that it is an “important win for competition and for consumers – it paves the way for much needed innovation in the real estate industry. Anti-competitive activity that hinders innovation in the Canadian economy will continue to be a top priority for the Bureau.”

He added that the ruling would allow real estate agents to provide greater information to homebuyers to improve the efficiency and quality of their services.

But John DiMichele, CEO of TREB, responded that the court’s decision was disappointing and that consumers would be adversely affected.

“TREB disagrees with the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal and will be seeking leave to appeal the decision together as well as an order staying the decision pending the outcome of that appeal, if granted. TREB believes strongly that personal financial information of home buyers and sellers must continue to be safely used and disclosed,” he said in a statement.

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