The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) considered the case of entry into a house without permission.
The Criminal Code covers the same topic, and it’s called “breaking and entering”.
In this case, the buyer’s agent had been given the lockbox code to gain access to the premises to view the property. The property market was “hot”, so there were several showings and the property was sold conditionally. The deal fell through and the property came back on the market. There was to be an “Offer Day”, but a bully offer came in which called for an immediate response.
In haste and without a confirmed appointment the agent attended at the premises, and used the old lockbox code in order to gain entry.
Clearly, this is not allowed. RECO assessed a $5,000.00 fine and required the agent to attend a 3 week class offered by OREA.
As pointed out earlier, this is also breaking and entering. It doesn’t matter if you can get a key because you know the combination to the lockbox.
This is really not a real estate discipline matter. It’s just common sense. Everyone in society should know that you can’t enter someone’s home without permission. What was this “agent” thinking!
Most RECO discipline issues involve a misapprehension of the rules, misapplication of the rules, or some oversight. I am often called to explain some subtle distinction in the code of ethics or some interesting or unusual interpretation. But, this is just “crazy”.
It could involve a cavalier attitude and disregard for the rights of the homeowner, however that was not evident from the facts of the case. If that were the case, then it likely would have been a criminal matter.
More recently, RECO has increased this to $7,500.00.
As a rule, I use fictitious names or do not mention any names if it is not necessary. The actual case is published on RECO’s website and is available to the public. For educational purposes, the names of the parties really don’t have any bearing. If you need to quote the case, you will have to obtain the proper legal citation.
Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker