Real Estate

SCC decision allows Toronto realtors to publish home sales data

By Mia Clarke, Associate Editor

The Supreme Court of Canada’s refusal to hear an appeal from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) comes as no surprise to many in the business, Toronto real estate lawyer Sarita Samaroo tells Real Estate Professional Canada’s online magazine.

Samaroo, principal of SST Law Professional Corporation, believes TREB took a protectionist position.

“I’m quite surprised that TREB has been against the decision as it stood,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I thought there should be as much real estate data as possible.

"I understand the protectionism because they want to ensure the public hires realtors to access that information, but I don’t see how it can harm realtors for the public to have more information on hand.”

Samaroo also says real estate professionals won’t suffer financially as a result of the decision. In fact, she thinks that giving the public access to the data actually prevents realtors from being cut out of transactions, reports the magazine.

“The agent is due their commission payable, irrespective of whether the listing is suspended or not,” says Samaroo. “If it’s expired, withdrawn or terminated, that is different. But where an agent is involved, they could lose their commission.

"It could prevent more private sales because there is a tendency right now with a lot of buyers and sellers in this market is to get rid of their realtor because the market is slower. They may just suspend the listing and try to sell privately, but that cuts out the realtor. However, that information is now available publicly. That could help realtors.”

At the heart of the matter, reports the magazine, is the Competition Bureau’s contention that “TREB stifled competition by withholding sold data access to the detriment of virtual office websites, the latter of whom often undercut industry standard commission rates.”

“It’s interesting that the Competition Bureau had to get involved in order to have this available to consumers, but again I have to agree with the Competition Bureau’s stance that TREB had anti-competitive restrictions,” Samaroo says.

She also tells mortgagebrokernews.ca that she expects a proliferation of new business models in the real estate industry as a result of the decision.

“I think TREB was insulating its members previously, and I think now it will open up more room. There will be more companies able to share that data with the public, so we’ll probably see an evolution,” Samaroo tells the online publication.

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