Watchdog wins case against TREB

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The industry is about to change following a decision that may force TREB to make its sold data public.

“The Competition Tribunal has ruled in favour of the Commissioner of Competition in its abuse of dominance case against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB),” the Competition Bureau said in a release Thursday. “The Commissioner welcomes the decision addressing TREB’s anti-competitive practices.”

In May 2011, the Commissioner opened the drawn-out war by filing an application with the Tribunal that claimed TREB was being anti-competitive by imposing restrictions that prevent Realtors from posting certain information from the MLS on their personal websites, REP reported in July 2014.

The Tribunal has not yet released its reasoning for siding with the Commissioner.

“The Bureau filed an application with the Tribunal seeking to prohibit TREB's rules that restrict how its member agents provide information to consumers, such as previous listings and previous sale prices, thereby denying agents the ability to introduce new and innovative real estate brokerage services using the Internet,” the Bureau said. “The Tribunal’s reasons are confidential at this time; a summary of the decision is currently available on the Tribunal’s website and it is expected that a public version of the reasons will be released at a later date.”

It remains unclear what impact this will mean for homebuyers and, indeed, agents, as the Tribunal has not yet detailed how it will remedy TREB's anti-competitive conduct. However, it may mean TREB will have to make its data public -- or potentially face repercussions. 
  • Ryan on 2016-04-29 9:36:05 AM

    What about the privacy of home owners who sell and don't want that information made public to the whole internet?
    If someone wants sold data they can go to the town and pay a fee or contact their Realtor.
    Dont get me wrong I'd like to mail sold data to neighbourhoods as to inform them of where their Real Estate investment stands and advertise previous closed sales online but it's a privacy issue for the home owner and that needs to be addressed!

  • Ron Butler on 2016-04-29 12:29:36 PM

    The selling price of homes is public record. The fact you have to pay for a property search is meaningless. Public is public, this is the law of the land and has been for a century, so privacy is out the window . The fact that is should be more easily disseminated has now been established by the Tribunal. This is something that is in the public interest.

  • TWH on 2016-05-02 11:59:55 AM

    This morning across Canada in every MLS system's offices legal council would have been sought on what changes would be immediately needed to meet the CB decision. Association Lawyers will be using legal precedents rendered when Closed and Pending Sales data was being used or addressed in those court proceedings.
    The inevitable legal direction will be provided that causes an effective lockdown on mls system server data to occur.

    Listing Forms, Listing property practices and even mls system access will all immediately be needed to be revised, if law suits are not to follow.

    It is really a sad day for the consumer who for the last 26 years only had to supply valid id to get access to Sold data. That will no longer be the simply process required.

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