Law & Policy

JULY 16, 2007



Please be advised that there will be changes that will take effect regarding the articling courses for new salespeople. Previously a salesperson was required to take the Real Property Law and Principles of Appraisal articling courses any time during their first two years of registration. However it has been found that a majority of salespeople have been leaving the courses until their second year of licensing and some of them are finding it difficult to complete the courses by the required time. Therefore, effective September 1, 2007 a new salesperson who has become registered after this date will have to complete the Real Property Law course within their first year of being licensed and the Principles of Appraisal course before the end of their second registration year. Please bring this to the attention of the new salespeople in your firm as failure to complete the courses within the required time frame will result in the suspension of the salesperson’s license until the successful completion of the course.


A reminder that MCE 7 on Agency Fundamentals is a National Course and is run for two consecutive days. The following is the remaining schedule of the dates and places for the course.

Winnipeg September 5 & 6
September 12 & 13
October 3 & 4
October 10 & 11
October 24 & 25
November 7 & 8
November 14 & 15
November 19 & 20
December 12 & 13
January 30 & 31 (2008)
March 26 & 27 (2008)
Brandon September 17 & 18
Dauphin September 12 & 13
Portage September 19 & 20
Winkler October 16 & 17
Thompson October 29 & 30

Please contact the Manitoba Real Estate Association to register for one of these sessions. It is suggested that you attend a session as soon as possible rather than wait until March 2008 to attend the last session since failing to take MCE 7 by classroom will result in having to write and pass a written exam prior to your next renewal date.


Whether it’s the market or whether it’s the real estate agents failure to properly deal effectively with their clients our volume of complaints from the public for this year has doubled compared to the same period last year. This is just a reminder that in order to avoid a complaint being filed and possible disciplinary action taken by the Commission that extra care should be taken by all agents in handling offers to purchase and looking after their clients.


The MREA, in cooperation with Manitoba boards and the Registrar of the Real Estate Brokers Act has convened a task force to help identify protocols related to "multiple offers" which will be easily understood and enforceable.

Both the MSC and MREA have received a disturbing, and growing volume of phone calls in recent months from disgruntled members of the public. They have expressed dissatisfaction with real estate registrants and the perception of the entire industry in relation to "multiple offers" and the continuing hot sellers market.

It is to be expected that buyers who have encountered repeated failures to have their offers succeed will express some natural degree of frustration. However, the nature of the complaints goes well beyond disappointment, and detail allegations of improper and unethical conduct on the part of licensees.

In some instances, the industry may not believe that they are acting improperly and are merely serving the Seller’s best interests. While common sense should dictate what is and what is not appropriate. There are also existing ethical rules and expectations that need to be adhered to. A failure to do so will result in disciplinary action to preserve the integrity of the industry and ensure continuing trust of the public that proper procedures are being handled.

It is expected that the task force will provide a series of guidelines. In the meantime, please be reminded of existing guidelines that should govern your conduct. A number of these are noted as follows:


It is understandable that the concept of "fair market value" is somewhat difficult to gauge these days. It is the expectation that a listing agent will provide a Seller with a reasonable notion of market value in determining a list price. Sellers of course, have the prerogative to then set their own price, higher or lower to suit their needs. However, if a registrant is counselling Sellers to purposefully "under list" properties as a marketing tactic, this will be considered a serious offence by the Registrar.

Counselling a seller to list a property at a figure significantly below what they will actually consider accepting is a fraudulent activity. The general buying public is entitled to rely on the quality and quantity of advertisements, particularly with respect to the selling price. In this robust Sellers market, buyers are seeking financial prequalification, and as a result will seek properties within their budget. For them to find out that the list price is not the "real list price" makes them a target of a "bait and switch" exercise.

Scenarios have allegedly arisen where a number of competing offers are made on a listing which exceed list price, yet none are accepted by the seller. Notionally, all met the advertised expectations of the seller. Barring a bona fide change of heart by the seller, this kind of situation does nothing to enhance the integrity and reputation of the real estate sales industry, as it is the perception that it is the registrant who has initiated the "false" advertising.


While the sellers market has allowed many sellers to dictate terms, this does not relieve buyer agents from the responsibility of advising buyers of different kinds of conditions precedent that they should/might consider, as well as varying forms of inspections. Great care must be taken to avoid the perception that it is the registrant who has advised buyers that they "cannot’ include conditions. Precision in communication is critical.


It is an expectation that the buyers who are in competition will be advised if and when they are in a competing offer situation. However, the buyers MUST NOT be advised of the terms of the offers they are in competition with. It is not acceptable to divulge terms by implication. The following are examples of unacceptable communications:
- "your offer is within $xxxx of the best offer";
- "your offer is identical to another offer";
- "if you increase your offer by $xxxx the house will be yours";
- "there are xxx number of offers within a range of $xxxx";
- Contacting the top two or three agents/offerees and advise them that "they’re close, and do they want to change their bids?’

The only acceptable protocol in multiple offers is to advise the buyers/buyer agents that they are in competition, no more, no less. Registrants are advised to review the MCE 4 guidelines which outline the recommended guidelines when dealing with multiple offers. Please see estate/policies legislation/policies/mce multiple offers.pdf

Sellers are of course free to COUNTER an offer, but the practice of a haphazard bidding war "auction" are not acceptable. Likewise, a Seller can reject all offers (at their peril) and invite buyers to re-submit improved offers. However, great care must be taken not to directly or implicitly reveal the terms of any of the competing offers in doing so.

Please note as well, that an actual "auction" of real estate is permissible provided the ground rules have been established and the format has been approved by the Registrar.

W.D. Baluk
The Real Estate Brokers Act