Showing, but not Telling. Managing Conflicts of Interest when Showing Properties

Many licensees have asked Council what they should do when:

  • a buyer client is interested in viewing one of their listings; or
  • two or more of their buyer clients wish to view the same property.

Licensees are asking this question because of the ban on dual agency.

Effective June 15, 2018, dual agency is banned except in the rarest of circumstances. Providing trading services to more than one client in the same transaction would result in dual agency if the licensee continued acting for both clients. In this situation, licensees have two choices:

  • Option 1: Stop acting for both clients; or
  • Option 2: If both clients agree, stop acting for one client and continue acting for the other client.

Strictly speaking, showing one of your listings to a buyer client, or showing two buyer clients the same property would be a conflict of interest and would amount to dual agency. Council recognizes that requiring licensees to stop representing clients in these situations would be unreasonably disruptive – to consumers and to licensees. In many cases, a buyer client may view the property and decide that they are not interested in pursuing it. That would end the conflict immediately.

However, licensees must take steps to protect the interests of their clients and to comply with the intent of the rule banning dual agency. With that in mind, the Council has adopted the following guidelines for showing properties in situations that might result in dual agency.

Guidelines

If a buyer clients wishes to view one of their licensee’s listings, or view a property that another of the licensee’s buyer clients has a competing interest in, the licensee should disclose to the buyer that:

  1. The licensee is in a conflict of interest because another client has a competing interest in that property; and
  2. The licensee can show the buyer the property and give general factual information about the property (e.g. the info sheet, information from the MLS® listing, etc.). However, if the buyer wants any further trading services with respect to the property (e.g. wants to write an offer, or wants advice or specific information) the licensee must comply with section 5-18 of the Rules and stop representing one or both clients.

Licensees should also advise the other client who has a competing interest in the property that:

  1. The licensee is in a conflict of interest because another buyer client wishes to view the property; and
  2. The licensee proposes to show the other buyer client the property and give them publicly available factual information about the property. After viewing the property, if the other buyer is interested in the property and wants further trading services with respect to the property (e.g. wants to write an offer, or wants advice or specific information etc.), the licensee must comply with section 5-18 of the Rules and stop representing one or both clients.