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The BC government is stripping the province’s real estate industry of the authority to self-regulate, with Premier Clark arguing, it has lost the right.

She announced yesterday that the government will hire a new superintendent of real estate who will take over the rule-making, oversight and disciplinary powers currently held by the Real Estate Council of BC.

The announcement came a day after an independent advisory group tasked with restoring consumer confidence in the industry released a report with 28 recommendations, including hefty fines for misconduct.

The Premier says the report shows change is needed, because consumers are being put at risk and the reputations of honest agents are being tarnished.

She also says the province accepts the recommendations, and among other actions to protect consumers will implement the penalties, while moving to solve the larger issue of housing affordability.

Housing affordability is expected to be one of the major issues leading into next spring’s provincial election, and the NDP has already called for a task force to combat money laundering in the real estate industry.

While saying he can’t see how anyone could’ve read the council report, and still believe the industry should be allowed to regulate itself, opposition housing critic David Eby also argues, the government is refusing to address the real reasons for the over-heated market and the Premier is ducking the issue of foreign ownership.

Most in the industry concede, the move to regulate, came as no surprise, but in Vancouver, the money laundering focal point, realtor Aaron Jasper also notes, the Liberals have come full circle on this issue

He adds the devil could be in the details, and adequate resources need to be put in place to bring in proper oversight.

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