If there was a man behind the curtain of the Competition Bureau’s Scuffle with the Canada Real Estate Association, it would be Lawrence Dale.
Eight years ago, Lawrence Dale, a Toronto real estate lawyer and former owner of Toronto’s Chestnut Park Real Estate Service, launched the discount brokerage Realtysellers. The idea was to allow clients to choose from a menu of different a la carte service, including flat-fee listings on MLS.
Dale said he expected to encounter resistance from the industry, but was not prepared for the all-out battle that followed. He is currently suing CREA and the Toronto Real Estate Board for implementing new rules that ultimately forced Realtysellers out of business in 2006 by requiring an agent who lists a home on MLS to remain the agent of the seller throughout the entire process. His case eventually attracted the attention of the Competition Bureau, which argued in its application that the restrictions placed on teh use of MLS “have virtually eliminated suppliers of fee-for-service real estate brokerage services in Canada.”
According to the Financial Post, Dale has now filed an application to intervene at the tribunal that will rule on whether CREA’s practices are anti-competitive.
In it’s opposition to Mr. Dale being granted any intervenor status they CREA says, “Apparently not content with having convinced the Commissioner to commence this application, Dale now seeks leave to intervene, effectively to be able to step in as desired to handle the matter as if he were the plaintiff (yet again) suing CREA.”
According to Dale, “CREA is clearly scared of having to deal with me directly in any manner on this matter,” said Mr. Dale. “As a party that was a target of CREA’s activities, it is laughable that CREA now thinks I should not be able to intervene in their prosecution.”
CREA must really dislike this guy.
No date has been set for the hearing.