TREB loses court battle over sales data

The supreme court of Canada just announced it will not support Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) in its appeal to keep its members from publishing real estate data.



This signifies the possible end of a long time legal battle. There was always a debate whether consumers should gain online access to important real estate information. This includes home sales prices, house history and market trends in different areas of Toronto.

In the past consumers who needed any of the above information had to access it with the help of real estate agents and brokers. Only real estate professionals could access the Multiple Listing Service database. Another option for interested consumers would be paying a fee to use services like Teranet or local land registry offices. 

Long time battle over real estate data publicity might be over


The legal battle over publication of this data began in 2011 when the Competition Bureau, a federal watchdog, claimed that TREB policies hurt competition and digital innovation. The bureau said, data release would allow consumers to have more insight into the market condition and would improve convenience and the quality of real estate professional services. TREB fought back, saying that releasing the data would violate consumer privacy and copyright.

Hearings and appeals on this case were dragging on for years, but this Thursday’s court decision could put an end to the struggle. Latest court order requires TREB to remove restrictions on its members’ access to real estate data in the next 60 days. Experts believe that since the Supreme Court rejected the hearing, there is nothing TREB can attempt anymore to keep the legal battle going.


What does this mean for the consumer?


Open access to real estate data offers plenty of advantages to the potential buyer. When the information goes public, TREB will not have as much control over the market. Potential buyers would be able to access the full picture of home sales prices without the help of a real estate agent. This means that buyers can have an idea of how many transactions happened on the property, what is the commission received by the agents, and other data. This will allow to make informed decisions before making an offer.

At the same time, new policy should not divert potential buyers from using the services of real estate agents. If the sole benefit of the agent’s services is providing enclosed data to the customer, it is not a good professional. Hence, there will be less opportunity for unqualified professionals to take advantage of the buyer. If you still need clarification of real estate information, do not hesitate to access professional help. Once you find the property you like and make the decision, Home and Mortgage Advice will help you solve all mortgage related issues. With more data the process will be even easier and more transparent for you, and we will make sure it’s an enjoyable process for you. 

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