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Alberta real estate regulator gets overhaul

The province is doing some restructuring of its real estate regulator, less than a year after it gave the former regulating board the heave ho last October. Bill 20 is on the table and it sets out reforms to the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), which licenses and regulates realtors in the province. It is hoped that with restructuring RECA will have improved transparency, accountability as well as a better governance system in general.

An interim administrator was appointed when the province fired the last board after an independent audit showed the board to have broken down. This bill will restructure the entire entity. There will be four industry councils: residential brokers and real estate salespeople; commercial real estate brokers and salespeople, and commercial property managers; mortgage brokers; and residential and condominium property managers.

RECA will also have a new dispute resolution process and board and council members won't be able to sit in on disciplinary hearings. They will be overseen by members of the public and those in the industry. Staff salaries and meeting minutes will also be made public. The Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) said the overhaul of RECA will give the public and the real estate industry better protection.

An Alberta lawyer experienced in real estate understands the need for transparency in real estate dealings. He or she may be able to explain some new rules to clients who may be wondering how RECA changes might affect them. Having some understanding about the laws that govern the real estate industry may help consumers to make wiser decisions.

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