OREA seeking more protection for consumers against erring industry professionals

Top officials of the Ontario Real Estate Association have lent their voices to a growing chorus that is calling for more stringent repercussions in an industry that deals with probably the largest transactions that many consumers will ever make.

“[Buying a home] involves taking their life savings and putting it in the hands of professionals who they trust to help them find an ideal home,” OREA CEO Tim Hudak and president Ettore Cardarelli wrote in an open letter published by the Toronto Sun over the weekend.

Among the most important proposals that the OREA forwarded to Premier Kathleen Wynne is the tightening of standards for prospective industry professionals.

“Ontario needs to raise the bar when it comes getting a real estate licence,” Hudak and Cardarelli said. “Outdated government policies have meant that it takes longer to get certified as a hair stylist in our province than it does to get a real estate licence. This just doesn’t make any sense in 2017 with a far more complex real estate market and the high value of homes.”

“Standards for maintaining a real estate license also have to increase. The mandatory continuing education program administered by the industry regulator, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), is beneath the profession. It involves taking three online, multiple choice courses every two years that are not marked and can be taken as many times as it takes to pass. That light touch does nothing for professionalism or consumer protection.”

The duo also suggested a substantial increase in the impact of penalties on erring brokers.

“Right now, fines amount to a mere slap on the wrist. They should be dramatically increased to stop bad behaviour in its tracks,” they stated. “Ontario should also create a rule that mandates the loss of income earned in a transaction when an agent breaks ethical obligations to a consumer. Lastly, the regulator must step up and kick unethical agents who repeatedly break the rules out of the profession altogether.”

The full letter can be read here.

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