May 27, 2015 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
Consumers looking to sell their homes this summer can still look forward to greater choice in service and pricing options from Realtors, notwithstanding the Competition Tribunal’s recent decision regarding the interpretation of the consent agreement reached in 2010 between the Commissioner of Competition and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
After careful consideration, Commissioner John Pecman has decided not to appeal the Tribunal’s decision, which found that CREA did not contravene the consent agreement by introducing rule changes for Realtors who post properties for sale on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) systems.
The Commissioner remains committed to ensuring that CREA abides by the terms of the consent agreement, which remains in full force. Under this consent agreement, Realtors are still able to offer mere posting services, and CREA is still prohibited from discriminating against Realtors who wish to provide such services to home sellers. As such, consumers can continue to expect greater choice in service and pricing options when selling their homes.
Prior to 2010, CREA did not allow its members to offer innovative unbundled services, including a "mere posting" option where home sellers hire a Realtor to simply list their property on a MLS system while the sellers handle other aspects of the transaction themselves.
The consent agreement prohibits CREA from introducing, maintaining or enforcing rules that deny Realtors’ ability to offer mere postings, or that discriminate against Realtors because they offer mere postings or wish to do so. The consent agreement ensures greater consumer choice and provides Realtors with the flexibility to provide innovative unbundled services to home sellers.
In 2011, CREA introduced rule changes that limited where a seller’s contact information can be displayed on a Realtor’s own website. The Tribunal’s decision considered the rule changes in light of the consent agreement, including the impact they had on mere postings.
- Legally binding consent agreements are an essential tool for the Bureau to strengthen competition and consumer choice.
- The consent agreement was registered with the Tribunal on October 24, 2010. It will remain in force for a period of ten years.
- For further information regarding the consent agreement between the Commissioner and CREA, please see the Bureau’s announcement from October 2010 entitled Final Agreement Paves Way for More Competition in Canada's Real Estate Market.
- All the court filings in this matter are available on the Competition Tribunal’s website.
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