The term “trade” in REBBA is one of the most important definitions under the Act. It forms a pillar of consumer protection by underpinning the prohibition that an individual cannot trade in real estate unless they are registered under the Act.
The current definition was established over fifteen years ago. Since then the real estate market in Ontario has changed significantly. As a result, a lack of clarity in the definition has permitted some unregistered individuals to market themselves to consumers as professionals who can help facilitate a real estate transaction. For example, there is a growing number of unregistered individuals who market themselves as “housing consultants”. These individuals, who operate outside of REBBA, still complete real estate transactions, and often target new Canadian communities. These unregistered “consultants” pose a significant risk to consumer protection.
In Alberta, the Real Estate Act, 2000, is very specific in its definition of “trade”. A “trade” in Alberta is defined as:
“(i) a disposition or acquisition of, or transaction in, real estate by purchase or sale; (ii) an offer to purchase or sell real estate; (iii) an offering, advertisement, listing or showing of real estate for purchase or sale; (iv) property management; (v) holding oneself out as trading in real estate; (vi) the solicitation, negotiation or obtaining of a contract, agreement or any arrangement for an activity referred to in subclauses (i) to (v).”
Expand the definition of a trade under REBBA to eliminate grey areas and enhance consumer protection.
Should the definition of a trade be expanded to enhance consumer protection?
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