Concerns or Questions?
What happens in the unlikely event you have an issue with the service provided to you by your real estate professional or if you have an issue with the buyer’s real estate professional?
If the issue is with your real estate professional, your first step should be to contact their broker. The broker is responsible for industry professionals registered with the brokerage. The broker may be able to explain the professional’s conduct or may find a way to resolve the issue you brought forward.
If you don’t feel the broker satisfactorily addressed your concerns, your next step should be to contact the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). As the governing body for Alberta’s real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage, property management, and real estate appraisal professionals, RECA is committed to the public interest. RECA sets, regulates, and enforces standards for licensed industry professionals, which promotes the integrity of the industry and protects consumers.
If a consumer feels their real estate representative behaved inappropriately, they can file a complaint with RECA. RECA’s first step is to review a complaint to determine if it falls within its jurisdiction and if there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. If so, RECA will begin the formal conduct review (investigation) process.
If RECA determines there has been misconduct, it can issue a financial penalty to the industry professional, and issue other forms of discipline, but it will not be able to get any compensation for you. To receive compensation, you would need to proceed with action through the courts or apply to the Consumer Protection Fund. The Consumer Protection Fund is available to consumers in the event they suffer financial resulting from fraud or breach of trust, or a failure by the industry professional to disburse or account for money held in trust.
An additional protection in place for consumers is errors and omission insurance (E&O). E&O insurance is business liability insurance intended to cover damages resulting from errors, omissions, and negligence by licensed industry professionals that occurred in the course of providing their services. All licensed real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals in Alberta carry some form of E&O insurance, which provides additional protection to consumers.