Gill & Mulholland LLP has been representing agents and brokers before the Real Estate Counsel of Ontario (RECO) for many years and has a great deal of experience in and familiarity with all aspects of RECO’s governance mandate and procedures.
It is our mission to bring clarity to the process and ensure that your rights as either a real estate broker or agent are aggressively protected with the utmost of integrity.
RECO oversees both agents and brokers. It does so through the powers Ontario has granted it under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 30, Sched. C, and the Acts related regulations, including the Code of Conduct. These Acts and Regulations constitute the regulatory framework that establishes the boundaries of governance of all agents and brokers in Ontario.
Your professional indemnity insurance only provides you coverage for errors and omissions and is there in the event that you find yourself involved in a claim for damages. It unfortunately does not provide you coverage in the event that you are facing a complaint before RECO.
As soon as a real estate broker or agent becomes aware of a claim or potential claim, the first thing to be done is to advise the errors and omissions insurer so as not to jeopardize coverage. The second thing to do is contact a lawyer familiar with RECO, especially if you have been served with a RECO complaint.
Potential penalties range from a warning on your file, through to a fine of up to $25,000, for agents or brokers for breaching the Code of Ethics, or $50,000 to $250,000, for agents and brokers, respectively, and a prison term of up to two years for breaching any of the provisions of REBA, and the suspension or revocation of an agent or broker’s license.
Given the potential penalties that are available to RECO, through its administrative procedures, or through Court Process, and given the legal complexities, it is best to involve legal counsel before responding to any complaint. Moreover, any response you provide to a RECO complaint will become evidence that may be used by RECO against you in the Disciplinary or Court Process and, if done without consultation with your insurer, may compromise your insurance coverage.
If you have received a complaint from RECO or are concerned that one might be forthcoming, do not hesitate to contact Gill & Mulholland LLP. We are here to help guide you through the process and to minimize the stress involved when you receive a complaint or a potential complaint.