Vancouver councillors complain about aggressive realtors going around neighbourhoods

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      Vancouver councillor Elizabeth Ball has worked with realtors in the past.

      They were “honourable, wonderful people” who had helped her buy a house, according to her.

      But the current crop of realtors going around her neighbourhood is a different kind.

      They pester people with daily visits or wait for residents to come out, asking to put their homes on sale, according to Ball.

      They also give out letters with false information that their neighbourhood will be razed, and that the best thing for residents to do is to have their properties included in land assemblies.

      All these have made life rather difficult in the community, Ball said in council Wednesday (July 13).

      Ball was addressing Carolyn Rogers, who is the province’s superintendent of real estate and CEO of the Financial Institutions Commission.

      Rogers chaired an independent advisory group that looked into conduct of the real estate industry in B.C. following concerns from the public about the conduct of realtors. On June 28, the group released its report containing 28 recommendations.

      Rogers made a presentation before Vancouver city council, and later took questions from councillors.

      When it was Ball’s turn to speak, the councillor noted that she got one misleading letter from a realtor just the day before about what’s going to happen to her neighbourhood.

      According to Ball, solicitation tactics like this are distressing her neighbours.

      “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ball said.

      Ball also volunteered to collect samples of these letters so real-estate regulators can see what’s going on.

      Councillor Raymond Louie told Rogers that some flyers falsely claim that towers are going into certain neighbourhoods.

      According to Louie, council often gets blamed by people receiving the wrong information.

      Councillor Adriane Carr informed the superintendent of real estate that she has heard complaints about aggressive realtors going door-to-door to ask people to list their homes.

      Rogers noted that one of the 28 recommendations made by the advisory group she chaired deal with this kind of behaviour.

      In its report, the group recommended deterrence for “licensees who engage in, aid, or abet aggressive marketing and sales practices that target vulnerable members of the public”.

      “The public has a heightened distaste for any misconduct that targets vulnerable British Columbians, for example, new immigrants, seniors, less sophisticated real estate market participants, and unrepresented individuals,” the report notes.

      The document adds: “In a market environment where licensees are aggressively soliciting listings and transactions are completed in a matter of days, sellers do not have the benefit of a ‘cooling off period’ for sober reflection.”