The Ontario Trust in Real Estate Services Act will bring significant changes to Ontario starting April 1, including a Seller's option to open the offer process.
The Act was amended and passed through the Ontario parliamentary system a couple of years ago and received Royal assent on March 4, 2020. The modernization of the Act is designed to strengthen the trust consumers have in the real estate process in Ontario.
Here are a few significant changes and how they will give buyers and sellers more options in Kitchener-Waterloo and throughout the province.
- Sharing the content of competing offers - If the seller client directs, the registrant is permitted to share the content of competing written offers with everyone making one of the offers. The seller may also direct that only parts of the offers be shared. Any offer information that is shared must not include personal or identifying information. Registrants must follow the instructions of their seller client, including any change in the instructions.
- Customer relationships/agreements are no longer permitted - The term customer will no longer apply to a buyer relationship in any real estate transaction. Instead, a buyer must either be a client or a self-represented party. The self-represented party does not replace customer. Services can only be provided to clients.
- Facts a seller is legally obligated to disclose. - TRESA, a new obligation requires a registrant representing a seller to disclose facts to a potential buyer if those facts are known to the registrant. They are facts that a seller client is legally required to disclose. These facts would make a property uninhabitable, dangerous or potentially dangerous.
These changes, along with several other changes that affect both parties of a real estate transaction in Ontario, are positive and should help ensure that trusted professionals competently represent their clients.
It will be interesting to see how many sellers decide to open the offer process when selling their homes. This is not a mandatory obligation for a seller, and in some cases, it may be wise for sellers to continue the practice of 'blind bidding.'