The passage of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020 (TRESA) has made Ontario a leader in North America when it comes to professional standards, consumer protection and modern tools for real estate professionals.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has led the way in advocating for many of the changes that realtors and their clients are now benefiting from, like personal real estate corporations, the ability to use the realtor trademark “REALTOR®” in advertising and tougher penalties for breaches of the code of ethics.
With the implementation of TRESA’s phase two regulations on December 1, 2023, TRREB is turning its attention to working with Minister McCarthy and his team on phase three of the regulatory process and key changes that, if passed, will benefit realtors and consumers.
Advocacy work over the years
TRREB’s advocacy work on reforms to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) dates back to 2006 when we were the first association in the province to call on the government to allow realtors to form personal real estate corporations.
From day one, TRREB’s work to reform REBBA and eventually introduce TRESA has been focused on raising the bar for the real estate profession in Ontario and providing even better protections to real estate consumers. With that in mind, here’s what TRREB is fighting for under phase three.
TRREB’s hopes for phase three of TRESA
1. Closing exemption loopholes. TRREB is calling on the province to end exemptions under TRESA that allow other parties to sell homes without the strong system of protection consumers enjoy when working with real estate brokers and salespeople registered under TRESA.
2. Creating a Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) ombudsperson. RECO is not subject to the same oversight as other self-regulated/managed organizations. TRREB is advocating for the creation of an ombudsperson which would add greater transparency and accountability to a regulator responsible for overseeing real estate — one of the largest and most important sectors of Ontario’s economy.
3. Introducing specialist certifications. TRESA has introduced the ability to permit real estate registrants to hold themselves out as “specialists” provided they meet prescribed standards. TRREB is urging the province to move forward with enacting this section of the act into law and create certification standards, starting with commercial and condominium specialists.
4. No cooling-off period on resale homes. Earlier in 2023, the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery consulted on introducing cooling-off periods for new freehold homes. While there are merits to cooling-off periods for new freehold homes that could establish protections for consumers against pressure tactics from a builder (similar to existing rules for new condominium units), TRREB strongly cautions that potential efforts to extend similar policies to the resale market should not be pursued.
This is because the resale market is very different from new construction in the sense that both sellers and buyers are consumers, and these transactions are intertwined and could have a negative domino effect on other transactions in a supply-constrained market. It’s for this reason that TRREB is working as part of our phase three advocacy to ensure that cooling-off periods are not extended to resale homes.
5. Higher education standards. Registration and continuing education are pillars of professionalism in the real estate industry. Through the phase three regulation process, TRREB will be consulting with members on ways RECO and the province can strengthen the real estate education system in Ontario to benefit members and consumers.
TRREB expects the Ministry to start the phase three regulation process sometime in 2024. Going forward, TRREB will be engaging and consulting with members on these important changes and providing opportunities for them to help shape our feedback to government.
TRREB would like to acknowledge Minister McCarthy for his commitment to modernizing TRESA. His leadership has been instrumental in bringing forward changes that are strengthening consumer protection and raising professional standards.
The road to TRESA has been long, but we are excited to enter this third and final phase of regulation development. TRREB is committed to continuing our strong tradition of advocacy work on issues that matter to members, their clients and all Ontarians who one day dream of owning a home.