BC’s real estate watchdog sues Real Estate Council for refusing to discipline Realtor

By ThinkPol Staff

British Columbia’s Superintendent of Real Estate is suing the province’s Real Estate Council after the body that licences province’s realtors refused to discipline a licensee.

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) was setup in 2004 to ensure to protect public interest in real estate dealings, and its oversight responsibilities include ensuring that complaints against licensees under the various real estate related acts are considered “fully, fairly and in an even-handed manner.”

On March 6, 2017, Garry and Wendy Lowe complained to the OSRE regarding a February 9, 2017 decision of the Real Estate Council’s complaints committee, the statement of claim filed at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver[1]THE SUPERINTENDENT OF REAL ESTATE vs THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA VLC-S-S-180169

The Committee had allegedly advised the Lowes that it would not pursue any disciplinary action against Rodger Peterson, a licensee, in relation to an aborted real estate transaction impacting the Lowes, the complaint states.

After reviewing the Lowes’ original complaint, the Superintendent, Micheal Noseworthy, determined it was in the public interest to direct the Real Estate Council to issue a notice of discipline hearing regarding the Lowes’ complaint and informed the Council accordingly on June 8, 2017, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that on September 19, 2017, Erin Seeley, Executive Officer of the Real Estate Council, responded, indicate the Council’s refusal to follow the Superintendent’s direction, asserting that the Council was functus officio.

The legal doctrine of functus officio, Latin for “having performed his or her office”, means that “once a board or tribunal has made a decision it has fulfilled its statutory duty and has no further ability to consider the case.”

By September 25, 2017, sent by counsel for the Superintendent, Ms. Joni Worton, responded to Ms. Seeley re-iterating the Superintendent’s expectation, according to the court documents.

“It seems an impossible position to take that the Superintendent could not require the Council to issue a Notice of Hearing in circumstances where the Superintendent is of the opinion that the Council has not, or may not have, appropriately or properly considered a file that has been closed at the earliest of stages; particularly given the express statutory language of RESA,” Ms. Worton wrote the Council.
According to the lawsuit, On September 27, 2017, Ms. Jean Whittow, Q.C., counsel for the Real Estate Council, responded to Ms. Worton, stating as follows:

“The Council has carefully considered the points raised in your letter. The Council respectfully disagrees with your client’s analysis and its position is unchanged.”

The Superintendent is seeking a mandamus compelling the Council to issue a notice of discipline hearing into the Lowes’ complaint .

“The evidence establishes that the Real Estate Council refused to comply with multiple requests made by the Superintendent to issue a notice of discipline hearing to Mr. Peterson,” the counsel for the OSRE assert. “The Council’s refusal was unequivocal and deliberate, despite there being no legitimate basis on which it could be maintained.”

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9 Responses to BC’s real estate watchdog sues Real Estate Council for refusing to discipline Realtor

  1. Allison Jean Munn Barber says:

    An un-regulated industry that is also the number one revenue generator for the government. What can go wrong? The lawyers and accountants get rich, the courts are further clogged, and this court case will change nothing.

    • Frank Heitzer says:

      The real estate industry is highly regulated.
      Things have to be assessed at a case by case basis.
      Who said the council did something wrong? Who said the agent did something wrong? Many times complaints are made by people who lost out in a multiple offer situation or didn’t get the price for a home they want and therefore look to the agent to make up for it.

      • nonconfidencevote says:

        You’re blaming this on “a sale gone bad?”
        Please Frank . Lets give the Supreintendant or BC Real Estate a bit more intelligence than that!
        I dont think the Superintendant would go to bat for clients if he thought they were merely “short changed” on their house sale”.
        Spare me your denials.
        Gee Frank let me guess….you’re a Realtor?
        No biased opinion there.
        Or the other Realtors sitting on a Council passing ( or not in this case) judgement on one of their own……. ” Careful , we wouldnt want to make the RE Industry look bad…..now would we”

        Time and again we hear about Realtors shadow flipping, refusing to take bids, price pumping, and on and on and on to juice their already obscene sales commissions.
        And IF they are found to have been breaking some of the “rules” their “punishment is laughable.
        Industry self regulation of a bunch of commissioned sales people is like letting a weasel into a chicken hatchery.
        A self gorging bloodfest.
        Time to heave the Real Estate Clowncil on the garbage heap where it belongs and bring in govt Crown Council?

        It doesnt matter.
        The rising interest rates and B20 rules have popped the balloon.
        Turn in the Audi Keys when the lease is up Frank….this party’s over.

  2. FedUp says:

    “the various real estate related acts”

    If you’re going to write stories, do some research. There in ONE Act, not ‘various’. Great reporting. I wonder how accurate the rest of the story is???

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Apparently quite accurate since it was highlighted on the CBC 6pm News Tueday evening.

      The newscasters named names, why the people complained to the regulators, and the Real Estates ludicrous explanation as to why they refused to look at the complaint.
      Fox guarding henhouse has nothing on whats been going on in the Real Estate “self regulation” industry.
      But , Im sure that as real estate values tank over the next few years and mortgage holders get burned alive in debt……the howls of outrage and the torches and pitchforks will come out…..

  3. Old and retired says:

    nonconfidene should follow his own advice and research council! Crispy more or less dissolved council several years ago and filled the board with party hacks. I don’t know the background of the complaint so I will not comment on its validity but I was a Realtor for over 25 years and regularly reviewed Council decisions ( I sat on a number of boards) which more often than not were critical of the Realtor involved. It would appear to me that the superintendent is trying to micromanage an industry that he knows little about to ingratiate himself with the current idiots in Victoria. As far as the CBC is concerned, their reputation for accurately reporting the news is somewhat less than stellar!

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      What? The CBC has a biased agenda? Say it isnt so!
      Lets go over to the unbiased Global TV where the 6pm News is interrupted with endless ads by the Real Estate industry.

      As for most “self regulating” agencies full of industry Hacks.
      Couldnt agree more.
      If they think they have been doing such a bang up job…..why are so many people pissed at the whole Real Estate cartel?
      Withholding sales history, sales prices, days on market, relistings, and on and on and on.
      The Real Estate cartel fighting tooth and nail in the Courts for YEARS to keep their information out of the publics hands…..
      Well the Supreme Courts’ decision ruled against their monopolistic practices and 2018 is a whole new information ball game.


      Customers will have more info to help them make a more informed choice on the most important purchase of their lives NOT the bs spewed forth by a commission based sales person….Then we have higher interest rates topped up with B20 regulations to tighten mortgage qualifications…..All will pop the industry balloon….
      Stick a fork in the in the biased, conflict of interest affected, commission based sales industry.
      Just be glad you’re retired.

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