BC bans dual agency

The move by the British Columbia government to ban the practice of limited dual agency means consumers are limited when it comes to choosing the agents they work with, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

"Every day, realtors help their clients understand real estate transactions, so they can make informed decisions," said BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) President Jim Stewart. "Over my nearly 25-year career as a realtor many long-standing clients have developed trust with me, and now my clients have no choice but to start from the beginning and build new relationships. Trust is a crucial part of what is often the largest financial transaction in people's lives."

Limited dual agency is the practice of one agent representing both the buyer and seller in a transaction.

The BCREA claims the practice is important in small-town BC, where there are fewer agents to choose from. There is an exemption proposed for smaller communities, however.

“However, limited dual agency is also used in cases where realtors have established relationships with buyers and sellers, in commercial transactions and in situations where realtors specialize in particular property types,” BCREA said in a release.

“Rather than working with licensees they don't know, we're concerned people may decide to complete real estate transactions without representation," said BCREA CEO Robert Laing. "That goes against the consumer protection mandate of the Superintendent of Real Estate and the Real Estate Council of BC."

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