Real Estate News: December 2020

By Samantha Grilli, Harbour Legal

2020 has been a year of change and adjusting to a new normal, mostly as a result of Covid-19. Legislation has also been impacted and, whether or not a result of Covid-19, important changes have been made.

In this paper, I will summarize changes to three pieces of real estate related legislation. Specifically, the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, the Residential Tenancies Act and the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act.

Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002

Bill 145 or Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020 made various changes to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, now known as the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2019 (the “Act”). The first major change brought about by Bill 145 allows real estate agents and brokers to incorporate personal real estate corporations or PREC’s1. This allows real estate agents to take advantage of the tax saving benefits that corporations offer.

The Act also ensures that real estate agents cannot call themselves “specialists” until they have met specific criteria and completed required programs2. The Act updated the Code of Ethics for real estate agents and allows the regulator to discipline those who do not comply. Such disciplinary actions include fines and mandatory additional education3. The intention of these changes is to give RECO more power thereby promoting a more ethical profession.

Residential Tenancies Act

Although not in force as of yet, the changes proposed by Bill 184 give additional rights to landlords in Ontario. One of these changes allows landlords and tenants to agree to repayment agreements outside of the Landlord and Tenant Board (“LTB”). If a tenant breaches the agreement, the landlord is then allowed to seek an eviction order without a hearing or notice4. Additionally, landlords now have twelve (12) months after the tenant vacates to bring the tenant to the LTB for unpaid rent or compensation for use and occupation after termination5. When in force, tenants must provide advance written notice of any issues they plan to raise at a hearing6.

Additional protections for tenants have also been introduced. Bill 184 proposes additional penalties against a landlord who acted in bad faith in evicting a tenant under sections 48, 49 or 50 by allowing the Board to require landlords to compensate former tenants up to twelve (12) months rent at the monthly rate last charged by the landlord7. Finally, the Bill proposes to increase the fines for corporations convicted of a breach under the Act from $100,000.00 to $250,000.008.

Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act

Bill 159, Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020 makes changes to a number of pieces of legislation including but not limited to the Condominium Act,1998, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, and the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. The proposed changes to ONHWPA will change the Tarion Warranty Corporation to promote higher quality new home construction and reduce defects and warranties. The Bill will also include improvements to administrative authorities such as the Real Estate Council of Ontario and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority and will allow these authorities to continue acting in the public interest during emergencies9.

Endnotes

1 Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c.1 – Bill 145 at s. 2(2)

2 Ibid at s. 8

3 Ibid at s.21(3)

4 Ibid at s.78

5 Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c.17 at s.87

6 Ibid at s.82(2)

7 Ibid at s.57(1) and (3)

8 Ibid at s.238(2)

9 Bill 159, Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020 at https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/57607/ontario-takes-steps-to-strengthen-consumer-protection

 

Samantha Grilli practices with Harbour Legal, focusing on corporate and commercial law, residential and commercial real estate, wills and estate planning.

She can be reached at:

Harbour Legal

Suite 800, 25 Main Street West

Hamilton, ON L8P 1H1

Tel: 905-526-4250

Fax: 905-526-4251

www.harbourlegal.ca