Outcome of landmark lawsuit against realtor body could result in lower sales commissions for agents
(Source: Toronto Star)
A realtor’s lawsuit against the Toronto Real Estate Board could put the sometimes controversial issue of real estate fees under a legal microscope.
The suit filed by veteran realtor Fraser Beach, to be heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 22, is expected to be closely watched by Canada’s Competition Bureau.
In papers filed with the court and obtained by the Toronto Star, Beach stated the board terminated his access to the Multiple Listing Service in May of 2007 shortly after he launched a discount brokerage.
“There is a long history of TREB and other real estate associations establishing rules and polices that discriminate against non-traditional brokers and agents who attempt to offer real estate brokerages at lower rates,” Beach stated in his suit.
The first case of its kind to go to court has insiders saying the stakes are high for the board if it loses. It will determine whether TREB has the right to block access to brokers such as Beach and possibly open the doors to a flood of discount brokerages that would potentially lower commissions for all agents.
TREB is the largest realtor organization in North America, with more than 28,000 members paying annual fees for access to the MLS database of homes for sale.
Beach was no ordinary broker, however. His partner was BNV Real Estate Inc., or a subsidiary of Bell Canada. Bell wanted to get into the real estate business and became a member of the board.
Read Tony Wong’s full article “Suit puts real estate fees in spotlight” in the Toronto Star (June 12, 2009).