Ontario’s Real Estate Reforms: Understanding TRESA 2023
The Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA), effective December 1, 2023, introduces significant changes to the real estate landscape in Ontario, aiming to increase transparency and enhance consumer protection. Here’s an overview of the key changes.
Transparency in Offer Process:
TRESA allows for the details of competing offers to be shared with other potential buyers if the seller gives specific instructions to do so. While personal information identifying the offeror cannot be disclosed, the number of registered offers must be revealed to all competing buyers.
Real estate professionals must now disclose known facts to potential buyers that the seller has a legal duty to reveal. This includes hidden problems discovered during pre-listing inspections.
Consumer Information Guide:
Realtors are required to provide clients and self-represented parties with an RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) issued information guide before any services commence, aimed at keeping all parties well-informed. A copy of the guide is provided here.
Code of Ethics Update:
The updated Code of Ethics places a strong emphasis on integrity, quality of service, and conflicts of interest. The technical and procedural recommendations have been relocated to the general regulations, making the code more concise.
RECO’s Enhanced Discipline Process:
RECO can now address allegations of non-compliance related to TRESA, not just the Code of Ethics. This includes the power to suspend, revoke, or apply conditions to a real estate agent’s registration.
Introduction of Designated Representation Agreements:
This new type of agreement allows two agents from the same brokerage to represent a buyer and a seller in the same deal, enabling more information disclosure and benefitting both parties.
Assistance to Self-Represented Parties:
Realtors can provide only general information to self-represented parties, such as real estate market statistics, and assist them with the mechanics of filling out purchase and sale agreements, but without offering advice. Put simply, a self-represented party is a consumer who chooses to represent themselves in a real estate transaction. A self-represented party is not to receive any services from a brokerage. Guide to Self Represented Party
Updates to Written Agreements and Disclosures:
Written agreements must clearly list any services promised to clients, and disclosures now require written acknowledgment from the client that they have been received.
These changes are designed to empower consumers and ensure that real estate transactions in Ontario are conducted with the highest standards of ethics and transparency. For an in-depth understanding of how these changes may affect buyers and sellers, feel free to contact me directly. I am happy to discuss and explain changes to the legislation that is meant to protect buyers and sellers.