Under the Superintendent of Real Estate’s Rules effective June 15th, licensees are banned from engaging in dual agency, including:

  • representing both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction;
  • representing two separate buyers who each hope to purchase the same property; or
  • representing both the potential tenant and the landlord of the same property.

Under section 5-18 of the Rules, licensees have two options to manage situations when continuing to act for clients with competing interests would amount to dual agency:

  1. Refer each client to other real estate licensees to represent their interests in the transaction, or
  2. If both clients agree, continue acting for one client and stop representing the other client in this transaction. Before this can happen, both clients must read and sign the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients.

The following scenarios are intended to help licensees understand how to use the Agreement in their daily practice.

John is the designated agent for Pilar, a buyer. Pilar asks John to show her a property for which John is the listing agent. What should John do?

John can show Pilar the property, as long as he does the following:

John must disclose to the Pilar that he is in a conflict of interest because Pilar and his seller client have conflicting interests in the property.

He can show Pilar the property and give general factual information about the property (e.g. the info sheet, information from the MLS® listing, etc.). However, if Pilar wants any further trading services with respect to the property (e.g. she wants to write an offer, or wants advice or specific information) John must comply with section 5-18 of the Rules.

Under section 5-18 of the Rules, if the provision of trading services to multiple clients in respect of a trade in real estate would amount to dual agency, licensees must stop representing one or both clients.

That means that John could only continue acting for one client if both clients agree to that arrangement in writing, by signing the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients. If Pilar or the seller client chose not to sign the agreement, John would need to stop representing both clients.

Gurmeet has two buyer clients who want to make an offer on the same property. Gurmeet knows he can’t act for both clients – that would be dual agency. What should Gurmeet do?

Gurmeet has two options:

Option 1: Stop acting for both buyer clients.


Option 2: Continue acting for one buyer and stop acting for the other, if both clients agree in writing using the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients. If one, or both, of the clients do not sign the Agreement, Gurmeet must stop acting for both buyer clients.

A few weeks ago, Jorge ended an agency relationship with a seller client. This week, the seller re-listed their property with another licensee. Maisie, one of Jorge’s buyer clients, has asked if he can arrange for her to see Jorge’s former client’s property. What should Jorge do?

Before acting for a current client against a former client, Jorge needs to think carefully about the confidential information he received from his former client while he was acting as their agent. Since Jorge cannot disclose that information to his current client, he needs to consider whether his ability to represent his current client will be impaired.

In this scenario, it seems likely that Jorge knows confidential information about his seller client that would be material to Maisie, his current buyer client. For example, Jorge is likely aware of the seller’s motivation for selling the property, and the minimum price that the seller would accept. Jorge may also be aware of defects/issues with the property that are not required to be disclosed by the seller at law, but would likely affect Maisie’s decision about whether to buy the property or not.

Since Jorge likely knows confidential information about the seller that is directly relevant to Maisie, his current buyer client, Jorge should refer Maisie to another licensee.

Jorge cannot use the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients to continue acting for Maisie. That agreement can only be used in conflicts between existing clients that would fall within the definition of “dual agency”.

Farah’s buyer client wants to make an offer on a property for which she is the designated listing agent. Farah has advised the buyer and seller that she cannot act for both of them, because dual agency is prohibited. Farah asks her clients to sign the Agreement Regarding Conflict Between Clients so that she can stop acting for the buyer and continue acting for the seller. Her clients both sign the agreement. After signing, the buyer decides to be unrepresented. Can Farah work with the buyer as an unrepresented party?

If the buyer chooses to remain unrepresented, Farah may work with them as an unrepresented party. When Farah ends her client relationship with the buyer she must give the buyer a Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services form and a Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties form. She must encourage the buyer to seek independent representation, and explain the limited services that she can provide to the buyer as an unrepresented party.

However, Farah should consider the risks she may face before dealing with the buyer as an unrepresented party. If anything goes wrong in the transaction, the buyer may allege that she conducted herself as though she was still their agent, or that she shared their confidential information with the seller. Alternatively, if the seller is dissatisfied at the end of the transaction, they may allege that Farah conducted herself as though she was still the buyer’s agent, or that she shared their confidential information with the buyer.

Pia specializes in commercial leases. Depending on the circumstances, she may represent either landlords or tenants. One of Pia’s tenant clients wishes to lease one of her landlord clients’ properties. What should Pia do?

Under Rule 5-18, Pia has two options:

  1. Stop acting for both the tenant client and the landlord client; or
  2. Continue acting for one of the clients and stop acting for the other, provided both of the clients agree in writing in the form approved by Council. If one, or both, of the clients do not sign the Agreement, Pia must stop acting for both buyer clients.
Roan and Linda work for a brokerage that practices brokerage agency. Roan has a buyer who wants to make an offer on a property that Linda has listed. What should Roan and Linda do?

At brokerages practicing brokerage agency, all the licensees are considered the agents of every client. So Roan and Linda’s brokerage has two options:

  1. Stop acting for the buyer client and the seller client; or
  2. Continue acting for one of the clients and cease acting for the other, provided both clients agree in writing in the form approved by Council.

If the brokerage stops representing the buyer, it may deal with the buyer as an unrepresented party, provided it makes the appropriate disclosures to the buyer (Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services and Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties), and is mindful of the risks of dealing with unrepresented parties (see question 5 above).

A conflict of interest has come up between one of Daniela’s buyer clients and one of her seller clients. Daniela is thinking of asking her clients to sign the Agreement Regarding Conflicts between Clients to allow her to continue acting for one client and stop acting for the other. What should Daniela do to make sure that both clients can make a fully informed decision?

Daniela should ensure that her clients have been given all the information they need to make an informed decision about how they wish to proceed, as well as an opportunity to consider or seek independent advice on that information. Just getting their signatures on the Agreement Regarding Conflicts between Clients does not necessarily mean Daniela has obtained her clients’ “informed consent”.

Before asking her clients to sign the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients, Daniela should think about:

  • Whether she has fully disclosed the conflict of interest to both clients;
  • Each client’s level of sophistication; and
  • Whether her clients will have a meaningful opportunity to consider and/or seek independent legal advice on the conflict of interest prior to agreeing to sign the agreement.
A conflict of interest has come up between two of Shannon’s buyer clients. Both clients want to sign the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients, but, one of the buyers is concerned about disclosing their name in the Agreement, as they do not want the other buyer to know their identity for strategic reasons. What should Shannon do?

Any time Shannon is using an Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients to resolve a conflict of interest, she should ask each of the clients whose interests are in conflict if they have any concerns about disclosing their identity to the other client who will be signing the Agreement.

If either of her clients would prefer not to disclose their identity to the other client, Shannon should have each client sign a separate copy of the Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest Between Clients.

She would have to ensure that each of the clients is only seeing their own name and signature on the Agreement that they are signing, while leaving the fields for the other client’s name and signature blank.