The modernization of the Real Estate Brokerage Act (REBA) is essential in ensuring the future of the real estate brokerage profession.
Since REBA fails to incorporate the concept of consulting services, it inevitably contains gray areas that not only create an unfair situation for real estate brokers, but also result in a significant threat to public protection. These gray areas have, in fact, contributed to “real estate coaching services” in Québec, in addition to some web-based companies that advertise consulting services similar to those of real estate brokers.
These real estate coaches create confusion for consumers by using a title that is a derivative of the one used by real estate brokers. Contrary to the real estate brokers, these “real estate coaches” are neither regulated nor responsible for the actions or advice they give to consumers. Real estate coaches do not hold a licence of practice, are not required to have real estate training, are not covered by professional liability insurance and are not protected by an indemnity fund. In other words, consumers who suffer loss or damage due to a real estate coach have no recourse.
Consumers who seek advice must have access to services that are regulated and provided by recognized professionals.
In addition, if the definition of a brokerage act remains status quo, a significant number of brokers may no longer remain within the regulatory framework and may choose to work as real estate coaches. This would allow them to bypass regulations, reduce their costs and take advantage of a more flexible business model. This would create a situation in which anyone could call themselves a “real estate expert”. Consequently, consumers would be clearly at risk for the most important transaction of their life.
It is therefore fundamental that the rules and responsibilities associated with a brokerage act be equally applicable to everyone, whether it be “real estate coaches” or real estate brokers whose profession is regulated by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ).
For this reason, we are advocating the modernization of REBA. Consumers who seek advice must have access to services that are regulated and provided by recognized professionals.
Note that in many other provinces, “real estate coaches” are regulated under the terms of various real estate brokerage laws.
To read QFREB’s report, click here.