Real estate transactions service and assistance enterprises: 183 call for help in 2017

January 17, 2018 - The notion of real estate brokerage should be better defined, to avoid confusion regarding the protection of the public. This is what Nadine Lindsay, President and Chief Executive Officer of “l’Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier” (Real Estate Regulatory Organization-OACIQ), believes.

Nadine Lindsay recently took position on this issue at the occasion of Bill 141 tabled in September 2017, by means of a brief presented to the National Assembly. It includes four recommendations to "better protect the public" during a real estate and hypothecary transaction.

Is the public protected?

One of the recommendations suggests “defining clearly a brokerage transaction”. The OACIQ warns that using a service and assistance enterprise for a real estate transaction does not give any protection under the Real Estate Brokerage Act (RTA).

"Every week, OACIQ receives several requests for help from the public who believes, wrongly, that a regulatory intervention is possible in their file" says OACIQ. In 2017, some 183 persons who dealt with a service and assistance enterprise contacted OACIQ.

These calls were made for a variety of reasons, such as dissatisfaction with the services offered, a desire to obtain a refund related to the package purchased, questions regarding ongoing transactions, complaints about the purchased properties’ description on some of the enterprise’s sites , as well as problems with the building purchased, such as water infiltration.

«OACIQ respects the public's choice to handle real estate transactions at it so chooses. However, the agency wants the public to be able to make informed choices as, currently there is confusion" said Nadine Lindsay. OACIQ points out that in Quebec, one can sell an immovable by himself, through a service and assistance enterprise or through a real estate broker.

Revealing survey

The results of a recent survey conducted by Synopsis demonstrate, beyond doubt, that a better definition of real estate brokerage would be beneficial to the public. Before a national assembly committee, OACIQ "revealed that 71% of the respondents believe that they benefit from or do not know if they benefit from the protections provided by the LCI (Real Estate Brokerage act), when they do business with service and assistance enterprises”.

"To curtail the public’s false sense of protection," OACIQ asks the government to "clarify the concept of brokerage transaction", which can only be practiced by a broker. "Service and assistance enterprises should also be required to indicate in their communications that the public does not benefit from the protections provided by the LCI, when dealing with them," added OACIQ.

Remember that the OACIQ's brief includes three other recommendations that read as follows: Maintain and modernize the real estate rental brokerage framework; and for Hypothecary brokerage; maintain a single access window, as well as insuring credible and coherent governance.

Montreal, January 17, 2018

By François G. Cellier for Condolegal.com