Big Changes to Ontario Real Estate Dec 1

Real estate in Ontario has some big changes coming December 1.   Here’s a bit about what I know now..

First you should know that rules regarding organized Real Estate in Ontario is governed by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO); and the consumer legislation is called REBBA (The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act)  This legislation is from 2002, and is undergoing a huge revamp.  The new legislation is called TRESA (Trust in Real Estate Services Act) The revamp is in stages. The first phase allowed Realtors to be incorporated.  

It’s important to know that TRESA only governs Realtors – there are other bodies that can trade in real estate; lawyers, private individuals, developers & builders.  They are governed otherwise – except for private individuals who are not.   

It’s also important to know right now that RECO provides disciplinary oversight to the industry on a consumer complaints-based basis. 

Phase 2, coming December 1, has been created to enhance consumer protection, as well as some other industry-specific changes.  Here are the biggest changes that I know about.  We don’t have the actual legal documentation to look at until December 1 (forms, etc.)

1.    Open Bidding.  Perhaps the most controversial change is allowing sellers to unilaterally decide if they want to open the bidding process & share offer contents with other buyers.  Right now, we are not allowed to do this.  This means a seller can choose to share offer contents as long as it’s not private information (like names) amongst other bidders.  The very interesting part is that they can pick and choose this information.  So we will be able to cherry pick the best price, best closing, most favorable conditions from all of the offers to share with the buyers.  There may be provisions for a buyer to opt-out if a seller decides to do this, but without seeing the actual forms/clauses that remains to be seen.

2.    Simplified consumer contracts - only represented and unrepresented parties .  Right now, we work with consumers under contract.  We have a couple of contracts - for each contract we, as realtors, have different obligations to consumers.    Moving forward, there will be only consumers under contract and unrepresented consumers.   We will not be allowed to provide services to unrepresented consumers unless it benefits a consumer we have already under contract.   So this means we can show our listing to an unrepresented consumer, but we can't show them other homes in the area, or provide them with any real estate service or advice.  

I personally am looking forward to this one, I am hoping that it will eliminate consumers who refuse to sign a contract, ask for information and research - essentially "using" an agent, only to have their realtor friend write an offer for them.  This is likely because they don’t want to ‘bother their friend’, or their friend is giving them a kickback. 

With this change will be an 11-page consumer information to explain. 

3.    More open complaints process at RECO.   Right now, any issues with Realtors violating the rules are generally consumer based.  RECO is opening this up to a secondary committee to deal with more broad-based issues.  With the enormous number of licensed Realtors in Ontario there is a lot of criticism that RECO is too lax with penalties, this sounds like a positive change.   

This committee should be able to deal with other issues as well – and hopefully be able to divert some problems back to brokerages to deal with directly.   

For example, it will help this home buyer who complained to RECO about the sellers agent in his transaction.  Turns out it was the buyer's agent at fault.  So the sellers agent had an unfair complaint made, but because the consumer complained (unknowingly) about the wrong agent, RECO can't currently go after the buyer's agent.  

What changes leave you with the most questions?  WATCH THE 3 MINUTE VIDEO HERE

Want more information? Click on the links below

RECO website on TRESA changes

OREA website on TRESA changes

Recent Blog Posts

Explore this incredible opportunity in the heart of Markham's housing market! This centrally located 4-bedroom Markham home is now for sale!  It sits on a deep private lot with an expansive backyard – perfect for family living. Recently renovated with brand-new flooring and a fresh coat of paint throughout, this residence boasts an inviting eat-in kitchen equipped with stainless steel appliances. The spacious bedrooms and separate side entrance offer versatility and comfort. Enjoy the bright, airy atmosphere thanks to ample natural light streaming through the large windows in the generous basement, ideal for relaxation and gatherings. Situated on a serene, low-traffic street, this home epitomizes convenience. 

It's a short walk to schools, parks, public transit, Centennial GO station, Markville Mall, and the vibrant shopping district along Highway 7.  You can even walk to grocery stores! This is great for commuters – an almost unheard of walking proximity to everything you need that’s rarely found outside the city core. Don't miss this opportunity to make this fantastic home in one of Markham's prime locations yours!


A disturbing trend I've come across recently is the fraud in the rental space.   As an agent who handles a fair share of rentals; these issues have shown up over several ways this year.   I'll tell you about 3 instances I've had and the red flags that appeared with each! 

When I'm representing a landlord and an application comes in, I spend a lot of time going through an applicants documentation and getting references and looking through their background.  Here's what I do:

  • Call their employer by finding the employer's website and calling through their office to confirm employment.  I don't just call the supervisor on the application
  • Look carefully at the documents to see if they are real; company letterhead & credit reports can be faked or bought
  • Check social media & linked in
  • Call past landlords
  • Make sure there is a building at the address they're currently renting
  • Check that the landlords name and property owners names match.   If it's an apartment building call through the property management company if it's an apartment rather than calling the number provided.
  • Look at the credit report for signs of altering

With those things in mind, let's look at 3 things that have happened to me this year!

1.  Student rental Scam - fake rental and landlord

First of all, you should never have to pay to submit a rental application, or be asked for a deposit before you get a chance to see the place.   These scams are generally ads on sites like Kijijii and Facebook for rentals that look too good to be true.  They also steal MLS listings for homes and advertise them at lower rates.  I came across one recently through a family friend desperate for some student housing.  It was a big scam; and when I called them out they 'protested too much'.    Here's how to spot these scammers:

  • They demand payment to submit a rental application
  • They demand a deposit before you see the unit
  • Makes excuses why they are not available to speak to on the phone 
  • Will only communicate through messenger, text or email
  • The advertised price is way lower than other rentals
  • Their Facebook profile was just created
  • Their Facebook name does not match their user name ID (see the URL) 

2. Fake Rental Applications   

There are some very good forged documents out there.  I had some people submit an application on a lease I was advertising and here's what I found during the checks, among the other checks I did as above :

  • Inconsistencies in addresses on the application
  • Employment letter does not look real - no header or footer with information on the company letterhead

3. Forged Tenacy Papers

I had a call from a gal who had a great story, good employment, good credit, moving to Toronto from outside the city for work, can't come in to look for a place so needed virtual showings.  Could I help her find a place.  Sounds great right?  

Now I don't usually check tenants out before I help them (and I'd helped out a client with an out of town move this year already in a similar situation)  But with everything going on right now, I felt it couldn't hurt to see what her references would say.   So she sent in her application & 

then came the paperwork - the address of her job didn't match up with her story.  The company had never heard of her or her supervisor.  There was even no property listed at the home she had put for her address!  Other red flags for scammers include what she did:

  • get overly upset when called out 
  • provide complicated excuses for 'mistakes' on application forms
  • call the fact checker a liar, unprofessional, etc.

So be careful out there folks! 


A big thank you to the communities of Guildwood, West Rouge & Port Union for the terrific support last Saturday for my Community Shredding Event.  About 30 families participated - and their generous food donations filled our Jeep to the brim!   The food donations were taken straight to Feed Scarborough - the Scarborough Food Security initiative and will be distributed to local satellite food banks in the area.   Judging from the huge line up outside the Manse Rd. food bank Saturday, it's much needed. 

Chartwell Guildwood was my partner for this event and provided the venue and great snacks.  Thank you Kelly & Dianne for your wonderful support.  As always, Papersavers was gracious, friendly, professional and helpful!  

One interesting sideline - My husband, myself, Dianne and Alex from papersavers all grew up within the same area!   Such a big city/small world!