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The Duel over Dual Agency

A brief overview of BC's latest piece controversial real estate legislation

By Luigi Polisi

What is it?

Starting January of 2018, British Columbia's real estate regulator will prohibit the controversial practice of "dual agency," where realtors represent both the seller and buyer on a transaction. For regulators, the goal in removing dual agency is to create transparency for both consumers and licensees in ensuring all parties understand in whose interest licensees must be working.

What critics of dual agency say

Those who oppose dual agency say it opens the door to conflicts of interest and self-dealing for agents, as it is very difficult to represent both the interests of the buyer and seller in a competitive transaction. Ending the practice of dual agency could positively impact the market by ending the practice of "shadow flipping" where a broker resells a property multiple times before a deal closes, profiting from each transfer.

What the B.C. Real Estate Association says

The B.C. Real Estate Association, representing 22,000 real estate agents, argues that disallowing dual agency will take away or limit consumer’s right to make a choice about who they work with. For example, the proposed ban means that if a client has developed a relationship of trust with a realtor who is listing a property for sale, the client could not hire that agent as a representative to buy the property. Others say this is just another piece of political legislation in hopes of controlling the Greater Vancouver market.

The duel over dual agency continues.

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