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Vancouver realtor wants shadow flipping rules to have teeth

A Vancouver realtor says the recommendations of the B.C.'s Real Estate Council's independent advisory group regarding shadow flipping are a step in the right direction, but penalties need to be significant and transparent if the industry wants to salvage its reputation.

Aaron Jasper, a former park board commissioner in Vancouver, said realtors found to be acting unethically should face steep fines as well as possible suspension or even revocation of their real estate licences.

"We need to give the public confidence that all of us in this industry are really putting our clients' interests first," Jasper told CBC Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

"I think that it's in everybody's interest — those of us who are realtors, those who are consumers — that the bad apples in our bunch are weeded out."

Jasper also said that the practice of dual agency or double ending — when the same realtor represents both the buyer and the seller of a particular property — is something the industry needs to move away from altogether.

Transparent complaint process needed

An independent advisory group tasked by the real estate council with examining the practice of shadow flipping released its first interim report yesterday.

Shadow flipping is the practice of reassigning a real estate contract before the original sale is completed, usually inflating the price in the process. The council began its investigation in February after a Globe and Mail report brought the practice to light.

Jasper said that, in order to combat such practices, B.C. realtors must face serious penalties that they know will be enforced. As part of that, Jasper suggested a more transparent complaint process, including a publicly-searchable online database of realtors that includes past misconduct and disciplinary action.

"The lion's share of us in the business, I believe, are very ethical in our conduct," Jasper said.

"I'm optimistic that we can get this back to a place where people are feeling confident that their interests are being served."

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