A real estate agent contacted our office seeking legal advice on how to handle a complaint against her to the Real Estate Council of Ontario. The following is how our office handled the complaint and proved her innocence.

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She explained she had been married but eventually got a divorce. However, she and her ex-husband continued to have a business relationship. Everything seemed to be going okay until 2020.

Then the ex-husband decided to file a complaint with RECO against his ex-wife, listing many accusations about her work and professional ethics and of committing fraud. The complaint against her was more than 50 pages long, with documents and the complainant’s notes and remarks.

Our office had to address each complaint one by one and respond to each with proof of our client’s innocence. She had many documents and communications to prove that she didn’t breach any of RECO’s rules.

In these documents and communications, she was very detailed when informing her client about the process and what he needed to do in order to proceed with the transactions between them. She also gave clear instructions in emails to him about where to sign and initial documents related to real estate purchases and sales. She never once advised him to do something against his will or for her benefit. She also maintained her image as a professional agent. In none of those documents did she fail to meet the standards or ethics that RECO sets out for agents.

Our client didn’t commit any type of fraud. She has proven that without any doubt and is able to maintain her integrity and professionalism after this ordeal. After RECO reviewed all the documents, they determined that the allegations against our client did not reasonably establish a substantive breach of the Code of Ethics or any other relevant statute under their jurisdiction. And to our client’s satisfaction, no further action will be taken. The matter was closed.

The takeaway for all agents: keep your personal and professional lives separate and make absolutely sure you never breach the Code of Ethics that would result in a complaint against you from RECO.

You can contact me at any time for any legal questions you may have regarding this article, or any other real estate legal matters. The good news? It won’t cost you anything.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Dear lawyer
    What is the remedies under RECO for malicious or without-merit or fraudulent accusations?
    Lot of fraudulent complain, which is not even a realtor jobs.

  2. With the number of couples that work together, isn’t there some sort of fallback in place for these types of matters?
    I mean, the $ value alone for this must have been insane. Not including the amount this poor lady had lost because she was under investigation.
    Basically, what I’m asking is – did this guy get away with this? Or did he have to pay a fine that will hurt him in the wallet the way she got hit? A good stiff fine will help prevent / deter this from happening. False allegations can really destroy someone going forward. Will make them question everything they do and how they do it…may even push them
    Out of the industry.

    • Ken,
      Was she permitted to trade in real estate while under investigation? Was her licence temporarily suspended while under investigation? Was she a broker/owner (Corp) per chance?

      Was he still openly operating? Was she (they) a business within a business (as to being permissible in Ontario)? or a pair as sole operator? Where did her broker fit into this story? Or not at all?

      Did anyone tell her that even so she was found not guilty, the file would stay attached to her RECO file forever (just as a point of reference in case in the future she did ever commit a RECO sin?) The file is demeaning even so not guilty. He has destroyed her (which indeed is what he apparently set out to do: morally, mentally, perhaps physically and maybe financially, as she has been so traumatized? as to down the road she might develop PTSD? What age group does she fall in? That might have a bearing on her future. Family and friends even so wanting to help might make matters worse. Some past clients even so they think highly of her will still raise their eyebrows.

      Referring to there’s always two sides for every story. And if her doctor refers her to a specialist, tell her not to wear makeup or full suit business clothes to medical meetings. He might say: you look perfectly fine to me; go home, and not even hear out her story. Simply telling her: get over it.

      Read the excellent book actually written by an American woman doctor called: “Not to people like us.” She was reprimanded by a judge for wearing an upscale winter coat to his court (because that was all she left at all after a husband-related trauma).

      Carolyne L

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Interesting that a complaint filed with RECO by one registrant against another, where there could be motivation unrelated to the impact of the matter complained about for the making of it, is not followed up by RECO (or was it) with discipline toward the complaining party.

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