Calls for the prohibition of limited dual agency, or “double-ending,” began during the hot B.C. housing market of 2016-17 that saw complaints against a handful of Metro Vancouver agents.
Most complaints alleged a conflict of interest as agents profited from both sides of a transaction during a time of multiple offers and rapid price increases.
Since last June a real estate licensee can no longer act in an agency capacity for both parties in the same transaction. However, individual licensees from the same brokerage firm can act within a “sphere of confidentiality” as designated agents for both parties. Before entering a transactional relationship, licensees are required by law to disclose their agency relationship, both verbally and in writing using only RECBC disclosure forms, which are required for every transaction regardless of whether they have been consummated. This has generated an increase in paperwork and time for agents.
Real estate agents still have concerns, however.
Under the new rules, for example, an agent may not be allowed to work with a client if he or she has confidential information from previous transactions or even social contact. This has proved cumbersome in smaller markets and in the commercial real estate field, where agents often deal with the same parties over a number of years.
In a January letter to B.C. Minister of Finance Carol James, BCREA CEO Darlene Hyde said there had been an increase in unrepresented consumers “who are now restricted when choosing the [real estate agent] they believe can best represent them, especially in small communities.”
The BCREA recommended that the minister allow consumers to sign a waiver that would allow the use of limited dual agency.
Given these new rules that we are working with, it is now more important than ever that potential clients find a Buyers Agent that will work solely on their behalf.