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