TREB defends denying listings to rogue realtor, while realtor claims it did so out of fear

(Source: Toronto Star)

When Fraser Beach received a call from a Bell Canada subsidiary about starting a new real estate company three years ago, he had no idea the unlikely partnership would land him in a high-stakes court case that could dramatically change the landscape of Toronto’s real estate market.

The drama playing out on the seventh-floor courtroom at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice this week has pitted the realtor against Canada’s largest real estate board in a landmark battle that some say could open the doors to further competition between realtors in the future and result in lower prices for consumers.

Beach, 65, a long-time Toronto-area broker, has taken the Toronto Real Estate Board to court after the organization cut off his Multiple Listing Service access in May of 2007, three days after helaunched his website. The MLS database is a list of properties for sale. The realtor argues that the board shut him down when they learned his website would offer lower prices and that his partner was BNV Real Estate, a subsidiary of telecom giant Bell.

“Instead of embracing change, the Toronto Real Estate Board decided to shut it down,” Beach’s lawyer Randy Pepper charged this week. “They cut off access to Mr. Beach’s MLS system, which is the lifeblood of any realtor.”

Read Tony Wong’s full article “Real estate access: denied” in the Toronto Star (July 4, 2009)

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