Every year thousands of real estate transactions take place in Ontario with the help of a REALTOR®. The majority go smoothly, and without any problems. However, occasionally, things go wrong.
The Ottawa Real Estate Board is committed to encouraging and promoting a high level of professionalism amongst its Members. The Board takes complaints very seriously and makes every effort to ensure that complaints are thoroughly investigated and that all parties concerned have an opportunity to be heard.
The Board has the authority to investigate and sanction conduct that does not meet their By-laws, sections of the REALTOR® Code, and MLS® Rules & Regulations. The Board, however, does not have jurisdiction to deal with contractual or monetary disputes.
Making a complaint against a REALTOR®
Working with a REALTOR® will go a long way to ensuring that your real estate transaction goes without a hitch. However, there are times when even professional service can go wrong. If you have concerns about a real estate transaction that has occurred, or you are concerned about the actions of your REALTOR®:
- First, talk to the REALTOR® and/or his or her Broker or Manager if possible. Often times we find that problems can occur because of miscommunication.
- Secondly, you may consider contacting your lawyer. Depending upon the circumstances, your lawyer may be able to mediate – or at least let you know your options.
- There is a third option that you might not know about. The Board has its own Professional Standards process.
If you feel that you have a complaint against a REALTOR®, you can discuss the issue with the Board’s Professional Practice Coordinator by emailing email@example.com or calling 613-225-2240. She will guide you through the process of determining whether your complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, the Real Estate Council of Ontario, OREB & RECO, and/or whether you should seek a legal opinion. The Coordinator is knowledgeable about the real estate transaction, rules governing Members, the Code of Ethics & Standards of Business Practice, the REALTOR® Code, and the rules of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS® System).
If it is determined that your complaint falls within the jurisdiction of OREB, researcher(s) will be appointed from the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) to investigate. Once the investigation is complete, the PSC will determine whether to close the file, impose a fine, or send the Complaint to a Discipline Panel. If a Complaint is dismissed, it is because the PSC did not feel that there was enough evidence to satisfy their burden of proof at a Discipline Hearing.
If you wish, you can file a Formal Complaint with OREB’s Professional Standards Committee. Please include as much detail as possible. Any supportive documentation should be submitted with the Complaint Form. Formal Complaints are dealt with according to the principles of natural justice which, in English law, is technical terminology for the rule against bias and the right to a fair hearing. Please Note: Identity exposure is required of any Complainant.
You can submit your Complaint via email to firstname.lastname@example.org – or send a paper copy to Ottawa Real Estate Board, Attn: Professional Standards Committee, 1826 Woodward Drive, Ottawa ON K2C 0P7. The Professional Practice Department will acknowledge receipt.
To see a Flow Chart of the full PSC process, click here.
**IMPORTANT: If your Complaint is already being investigated by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) or if you are currently pursuing legal action, OREB will not process your complaint until such processes are completed.