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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Self-Regulation and Sanctions

Standards for the real estate industry are set by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). Alberta’s real estate industry is self-regulating because RECA is a non-governmental body. RECA was created by the Real Estate Act on July 1, 1996, making Alberta’s real estate industry the only fully self-regulated provincial real estate industry in the country. The Alberta Government is, however, responsible for the Real Estate Act and for monitoring RECA.

The Real Estate Act delineates the functions of the Real Estate Council of Alberta and allows the council to create bylaws and rules, and to enforce them. In addition, the Act regulates real estate business, and the process of investigating complaints and sanctioning industry members. Finally the Real Estate Act is responsible for regulating the Real Estate Assurance Fund and the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta is involved in the creation and administration of bylaws, rules, and regulations for the real estate industry. The processes of the RECA are governed by a series of bylaws. RECA’s rules govern real estate licences and registrations, and industry standards, while the regulations govern the terms under which the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, the Real Estate Assurance Fund, and the Real Estate Council of Alberta operate, including duties and penalties.

For the sake of ensuring high industry standards and protecting consumer rights, one of the primary functions of the Real Estate Council of Alberta is to investigate consumer complaints and to take disciplinary action when it is warranted. RECA offers an online complaint form. Once a written complaint is made, either by a consumer, industry member, real estate board, financial institution or by the police, if the matter falls within RECA’s jurisdiction, they are required to investigate. In the ensuing confidential investigation, evidence is gathered. Industry members must cooperate with the investigation or make an application to withdraw; if the application is successful, the proceedings end and the applicant is banned from the industry for life. Real estate boards also have the power to investigate their members, but while RECA’s investigation determines compliance with the Real Estate Act, real estate boards only investigate compliance with their own requirements. Following the investigation, RECA investigators can take several actions; they may drop the complaint for lack of evidence, give an administrative penalty, refer the matter to court prosecution, or a refer the matter to a hearing panel. Disciplinary hearings are administered by a three-person panel of RECA and industry members; the panel may reprimand the industry member, fine them, or suspend or cancel their licence.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta’s regulation of the real estate industry is intended to protect consumers and to ensure the professionalism of industry members. For more information about the services offered by the Real Estate Council of Alberta, visit their website.

References

Real Estate Council of Alberta. “Complaints and Outcomes.” Retrieved February 19, 2009 from http://www.reca.ca/complaints_outcomes/default.htm

Real Estate Council of Alberta. “Industry Standards.” Retrieved February 19, 2009 from http://www.reca.ca/industry_standards/default.htm

Real Estate Council of Alberta. “RECA Overview.” Retrieved February 19, 2009 from http://www.reca.ca/about_reca/reca_overview.htm

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