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Oct 16, 2017

Proposed consumer protection laws may temper real estate disputes

In response to consumer concerns in multiple industries, the government of Ontario has proposed a broad consumer protection bill. If passed, the new legislation would put new fines and regulations in place for controversial commercial activities. This would include new regulations regarding real estate agents handling both sides of a deal as well as addressing perceived issues in the current home warranty system. The government hopes the bill can help to weather real estate disputes on these challenging topics. 

New homeowners have called for regulatory change after a 2015 review raised questions about the mandate and structure of the current home warranty body in Ontario. The bill proposes changes that will give additional protections to those commissioning a home. It presents a new resolution process for any real estate disputes that would occur if a homeowner discovered an issue during a home's construction.

Real estate agents and brokerages may also see regulatory changes if the bill passes. It recommends strong regulations around the controversial practice of double-ending, where an agent represents both sides of a real estate deal. While the bill leaves specifics to regulators, stiffer fines and disclosures may be put in place to address the issue.

Professionals should maintain an up-to-date understanding about the regulations governing their industry, especially when new legislation is involved. Similarly, consumers should understand what rights and responsibilities they have when faced with real estate disputes or concerns. Those who have questions about Ontario real estate law are advised to contact a lawyer who is experienced with these issues.