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The Federal Court of Appeal Rules in TREB Lawsuit

The Federal Court of Appeal Rules in TREB Lawsuit
2 min. read

Homeowners and potential home buyers who are interested in Toronto homes for sale will soon be able to find information about properties in their area without directly consulting an agent.

This has been made possible through the Federal Court of Appeal, which has recently upheld a lower court decision that forces TREB to allow its members to upload information about the sales history of their listings online.

The argument, according to which TREB’s restrictions on online realtors stand in the way of competition and digital innovation, originates from the Competition Commissioner and was firstly upheld by Canada’s Competition Tribunal in April 2016. The court supported the tribunal’s claims and agrees that TREB’s reason to oppose the decision is not concern over the confidentiality of the data, as the board had previously stated.

According to thestar.com, the court’s decision will also strongly influence the way other real estate boards offer online services.

By contrast, U.S. websites have been providing this information to the public for years. In Ontario, information on prices and mortgages is accessible through the Ontario Land Registry office.

Opinions on the Resolution

TREB is planning to appeal the order to the Supreme Court of Canada, claiming that the information should only be transmitted from realtors to clients directly.

Opinions on the change are mostly positive, with John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, stating that it can only bring benefits to competition and consumers alike. John Pasalis, a Toronto based real estate agent who was directly involved in the case, strongly supports the new regulation, which, according to him, will not only help customers make more informed decisions but will also push realtors to step up their game and offer the best information to their clients.

He further states that many of TREB’s 46,000 members are also against the board’s determination to withhold information from the public and support the court’s decision, which would also offer them free use of information about other matters, such as commissions, property listing history and unclosed deals.

According to Lawrence Dale, who is suing TREB and CREA for closing down a real estate business he set up 10 years ago, the board’s limitations on Internet-based brokerages are a way of protecting traditionalism in business and stand in the way of innovation in the marketplace. Not only do they stifle new businesses, but they also harm consumers, limiting their choices of residential brokerage services, states the lawsuit.

Original article published by thestar.com.


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