News Release Archive

The Nova Scotia government is enabling the province's real estate
industry to become self-regulating, a move which will benefit
real estate buyers and sellers, taxpayers and the industry.

The Real Estate Trading Act introduced today by Business and
Consumer Services Minister Don Downe will empower the Nova Scotia
real estate industry to regulate itself, including the licensing
and setting of professional standards for its members.

"Right now, the taxpayers of Nova Scotia are subsidizing the
regulation of the real estate industry," Mr. Downe said. "The
industry has been asking government for some time now to allow it
to regulate itself, as is done in six other provinces."

Real estate sales persons are licensed by the Consumer and
Commercial Relations Division of Business and Consumer Services.
Staff also investigate complaints and, if necessary, conduct
hearings into disciplinary matters. These and other
administrative matters will become the responsibility of the Nova
Scotia Real Estate Commission, whose members will be appointed
from government, the real estate association and licensed sales

The commission will also eliminate confusion and duplication by
creating a single point of contact for the public for real estate
issues, rather than the two that exist today - the Nova Scotia
Real Estate Association and government.

The industry has shown it is ready for this responsibility, Mr.
Downe said "The current Real Estate Brokers Licensing Act has not
kept pace with changes in the industry, and Nova Scotia's real
estate professionals have made up for this by introducing their
own measures to protect buyers and sellers ."

For example, the Nova Scotia Real Estate Association has
established a code of ethics for sales persons and brokers. Also,
a potential buyer must sign a form indicating that he or she
consents to a sales person acting on behalf of both the buyer and
seller. Both these items are not covered by current legislation
but are initiatives of Nova Scotia's real estate professionals.

In 1994-95 the government held only five hearings involving the
province's 1,350 agents and brokers. Also, licensing agents is a
fairly routine matter once an applicant passes the examination.
"With this in mind, our staff and financial resources could be
put to better use protecting consumers where it is really
needed," the minister said. "The public will still have
representation on the new commission, just as the public is
represented on the self-governing bodies of the legal and medical

"This is another example of government getting out of a business
it shouldn't be in and focusing our resources where they are
needed most," Mr. Downe said. It costs the province approximately
$160,000 a year to administer the current process, but only takes
in $50,000 in licensing fees.

Speaking on behalf of the industry, Joan Malay, co-chair of the
NSREA's co-regulation committee, said realtors support the
legislation. "Our members strongly believe in the concept of
self-regulation because it makes us directly accountable to the
people we serve: the buyers and sellers of real estate in Nova
Scotia," she said. "The Real Estate Trading Act will make the
industry more responsive to our customers needs and concerns."

Draft legislation had been circulated for public discussion since
February, 1995. The bill introduced today reflects some of the
results of this consultation.


Contact: David MacNeil  902-424-2933

trp                      May 14, 1996 - 1:25 p.m.