Yesterday, the Realtor Cooperation policy became effective. Created by the Realtor Code’s Duty of Cooperation (Article 30), the policy’s amendment will limit how exclusive listings can be marketed. It’s intended to improve professionalism and collaboration in Canadian real estate.
For publicly marketed residential properties, the policy obliges realtors to place listings on MLS within the time frame their board or association states — up to three days, unless an exemption applies.
Public marketing in this context means representing a listing to anyone not directly affiliated in a business capacity with the listing brokerage or office. This excludes direct, individual communication with a person or agent.
Realtors are also required to inform seller clients of the benefits of marketing their listing on MLS. If the seller decides against this, it must be confirmed to their agent in writing.
This change received over 80 per cent support by voting delegates from Canada’s boards and associations at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s AGM in April 2023.
The policy exempts new construction listings in developments with multiple property or unit developments, commercial properties and rentals.
Background and reception
An article on CREA’s website states that “efficient and effective cooperation using MLS systems maximizes opportunities for realtors to bring together home buyers and sellers, promote the value of realtors as trusted partners and strengthen the realtor and MLS brands.”
The policy amendment happened after months of consultations with boards and associations across the country. There was quite a bit of industry pushback on the original policy (proposed in fall 2022), and CREA’s board of directors approved the revised policy in March last year.
Some in the industry have been concerned about unintended consequences and limitations to consumer choice, while others, including TRREB, support the change.
Enforcement and penalties for non-compliance
Policy enforcement will be the responsibility of local real estate boards and associations. CREA’s website states “the new ‘Duty of Cooperation’ provides the authority to enforce realtor cooperation under existing Realtor Code enforcement procedures.”
It also states that the association’s bylaws and rules were amended in 2020 to “give CREA the power to directly enforce the Code against realtors” and that the real estate practice “gives CREA broad powers to levy sanctions, where appropriate.”
The sanctions listed include:
- Suspending, restricting or terminating a realtor’s license to use and display CREA’s trademarks (for example, REALTOR® or MLS®)
- Suspending, restricting or terminating a realtor’s access to CREA services including such things as CREA WEBForms®, the REALTOR.ca DDF® and REALTOR.ca
- Imposing any other restrictions that CREA determines is appropriate.