Details of a landmark deal between the Canadian Real Estate Association and federal Competition Bureau were met with mixed reactions this morning when they were finally released to the public.
The agreement was posted on the Competition Bureau website (see link at the bottom of this article) Monday shortly before noon Eastern Standard Time.
That came less than a day after representatives of almost 100 boards and associations voted 97 per cent in favour of the CREA deal, avoiding a costly court battle that the Competition Bureau threatened to start next spring.
Competition Bureau Commissioner Melanie Aitken announced earlier this year she was investigating complaints of anticompetitive behaviour, especially involving CREA’s popular Multiple Listing Service. An estimated 90 per cent of home sellers go through realtors to list their homes on MLS.
“I am pleased that CREA members have voted in favour of this agreement,” Aitken said. “For Canadian homeowners, it ensures that they will have the freedom to choose which services they want from a real estate agent and to pay for only those services. For real estate agents it ensures they will be able to offer the variety of services and prices that meet the needs of consumers.”
Under the deal ratified Sunday, REALTORS® can offer individual services like listing on MLS rather than bundling them all together. Boards and associations also cannot “deny or discriminate” against brokers or agents who want to offer those services a la carte.
CREA president Georges Pahud said he welcomed the decision to ratify the agreement and end the Competition Bureau battle. “We are pleased that after careful consideration and reflection, real estate boards and (local real estate) associations from across Canada have endorsed the agreement.”
Pahud went on to say in a statement “The commissioner and CREA have agreed that its rules as well as those of members should not deny or discriminate against realtors wishing to offer mere posting services. CREA does not believe that such rules exist today, but if they do, they must be repealed or boards will lose their license to operate under the MLS trademarks.”
As real estate professionals, it will become your responsibility to explain to consumers that nothing has changed in MLS management, but rather it has been confirmed that discount brokers have the right to offer discount services. And those consumers continue to have the opportunity to choose service or no service from their official representative.
View the agreement that was posted on the Competition Bureau website here :http://www.ct-tc.gc.ca/CasesAffaires/CasesDetails-eng.asp?CaseID=325