Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | October 6, 2010

Agreement Reached ?

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau, which will be unveiled at its Special General Meeting in St. John’s on Oct. 24.

CREA will provide no further comment until the meeting is held, the association’s president said in a news release published on Sept. 30.

“CREA has always been committed to ongoing dialogue with the Competition Bureau. This agreement is the result of extensive negotiations between CREA and the Competition Bureau,” says CREA President Georges Pahud. “Both sides gained a better understanding of their respective concerns through our discussions. We are pleased that a resolution has been reached, subject to member approval.”

The bureau is concerned that CREA’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) restricts competition and consumer choice and, as a result, drives up prices. That’s because CREA requires individuals who use its MLS system to pay for the services of a Realtor even if they don’t need them.

According to the Vancouver Sun, the agreement between CREA and the bureau would last 10 years and would allow sellers to hire Realtors to list their properties on the MLS system for a fee. After, they could choose to handle the sale themselves.

While this is the official report, the agreement still requires ratification by the member boards on Oct. 24.

The President of the Victoria Real Estate Board released the following:

“Dear Member, 

By now you will have seen or heard news reports of an agreement reached between CREA and the Commissioner of Competition.  The CREA Board of Directors yesterday unanimously approved a resolution of the Competition Tribunal case brought by the Commissioner of Competition against CREA.  The agreement is subject to ratification by the CREA membership at its Special General Meeting in St. John’s on October 24, 2010.  The agreement has consequently been placed in escrow, or limbo, pending the outcome of the membership vote.  Litigation is still pending and therefore CREA, Member Boards and Members must continue to be extremely careful not to make any statement that could jeopardize the situation. 

CREA will provide further details to members in advance of the October 24 meeting, but no additional details are being released at this time.  CREA has indicated that it does not intend to make any comment in the media until after that meeting and asks that members take the same approach. 

CREA was unable to give us advance notice of the agreement as such notice depended on when the Commissioner agreed to sign the accord and it was not known when this would happen. Pending further information, our message to the public will remain the same:  

1)     While we cannot comment on the announced agreement given that details have yet to be released, it is important to note that the Victoria Real Estate Board has always supported a competitive environment in the real estate profession; 

2)     Consumers currently enjoy the ability to choose from a wide variety of business models and levels of service from REALTORS® when it comes to assisting in the buying or selling of homes and other properties.  We encourage consumers to discuss the level of service they require with their REALTOR®;

3)     Only a REALTOR® can place a listing on the Multiple Listing Service® system, but the level of any additional services provided to a seller is a matter of negotiation between the seller and the REALTOR®.

We will, of course, keep you informed of future developments as soon as we are notified. 

Sincerely,

Randi Masters
President
Victoria Real Estate Board”
 

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