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BC government announces cooling off period for residential real estate transactions



Today, the BC government announced its intent to introduce legislation requiring cooling off periods for real estate transactions involving residential resale and newly built homes. This change is expected to be similar to the cooling off period in place for pre-construction condominium sales and will be introduced in spring 2022. We are disappointed that this decision was made prior to a broad consultation with industry stakeholders and experts. We believe policies addressing market conditions should consider the interests of all parties in a transaction, changing market trends, give consideration to regional impacts, potential unintended consequences and should also include a defined process to monitor efficacy of the measures introduced. Without these details, it’s not clear whether what has been announced will improve homebuyer protection. BC’s real estate regulator, the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), will soon begin consultation on the appropriate length of a cooling off period and whether to include penalties for exercising the right to recission. BCFSA will also be seeking input on additional policies such as restricting blind bidding, price baiting, unconditional offers, mandatory home inspections, waiving conditions and other practices that may be identified as consumer protection risks. BCREA response Market conditions over the past year have left many British Columbians unsuccessful and frustrated when trying to purchase a home. We have conducted research on mandatory cooling off periods, as well as other potential government interventions. We will be sharing our research with BCFSA and with Realtors. We have also begun to engage with media on this topic, to ensure the public and government are aware of any pitfalls related to this process. We will continue to meet regularly with BCFSA senior staff, advocating for the government to undertake fulsome and meaningful consultation with real estate professionals and the public prior to announcing policies, especially when they are previously untested in Canada. We are also requesting a meeting with the Minister of Finance. Realtor feedback There are several actions we encourage you to take. At this time, BCFSA currently does not have a framework for consultation apart from an email address to contact. We encourage all Realtors to provide your own feedback to BCFSA by emailing coolingoff@bcfsa.ca and CC’ing gr@bcrea.bc.ca. Additionally, we want to hear directly from you. BCREA will be conducting our own substantive consultations with Realtors to provide BCFSA with structured feedback. Please stay tuned for opportunities to participate in focus groups as well as a survey. Your input will help inform our submission to the regulator. In the meantime, we encourage you to talk to your clients and other Realtors in order to better understand how the proposed policies could impact your profession. We look forward to compiling and consolidating the wide variety of perspectives coming from the sector as part of the consultation process. Sincerely,

Darlene Hyde Chief Executive Officer BC Real Estate Association Resources

If you have any initial thoughts, feedback or questions, please contact gr@bcrea.bc.ca and we will do our best to assist you.

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