This sure sounds to me to be very simular to what CAHPI is trying to do with the Home Inspection Industry in Canada .
Charging some HIs $500:00 and others $1,100:00.
Todays Toronto Star
March 26, 2007
The Federal Competition Bureau has launched an investigation into whether the Canadian Real Estate Association is being anti-competitive by making it difficult for discount brokerages to operate, and making it potentially more expensive for consumers to buy homes.
On March 16 the bureau hit the Ottawa-based organization, which has 85,000 members and represents the majority of realtors across Canada, with a court order requesting extensive records detailing how it and related boards operate.
“Information obtained from industry participants indicates that rules enacted by CREA and proposed interpretations of those rules have restricted, and will further restrict, access to the MLS database, and have prevented and limited, and will further prevent and limit the entry and expansion of potential competitors in the residential real estate brokerage industry in Canada” said a statement from senior competition law officer Jean-Pierre Bornais in Federal Court court records obtained by the Star.
Bornais said he interviewed 13 real estate brokers across Canada in a preliminary probe before filing the court order.
Last November, Realtysellers Ltd., one of Canada’s largest discount brokers, announced it was shutting down because it could no longer operate in the face of proposed changes to the Multiple Listing Service, which is owned by CREA. Other low-price agencies have complained about new rules that could bar some of their listings from the MLS, a members-only computerized database responsible for about 90 per cent of all home sales in Canada.
“The commissioner must consider whether CREA has engaged in, or is engaging in, a practice of anti-competitive acts, or has committed, or is about to commit an offence by restricting access to the MLS database,” said the court filing.
CREA’s board last year announced a series of proposed changes designed to protect the MLS trademark. One proposed that agents could no longer “merely post” properties on the MLS unless they represented the seller for the term of the contract. Another prohibited the seller’s name from appearing on www.mls.ca.
Discounters argued the rules meant that they could not post new homes for sale on the MLS at a cheaper price to customers who simply wanted access to MLS. Selling a home outside MLS is usually more difficult, since the database is by far the most popular vehicle used by consumers and realtors when accessing housing listings.
A spokesperson for CREA was not available for comment yesterday. But on Saturday, despite the competition bureau investigation, the organization decided to go ahead with the controversial changes to the MLS rules at their Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, in an overwhelming vote of 92 per cent in favour of the new guidelines, according to one source.
In a letter given to members at the meeting and obtained by the Star, the organization tells members, “If CREA lost control over the use of MLS trademarks, the public would suffer, because the public would no longer be able to depend on the integrity of brokers using MLS trademarks to identify their services, or on the accuracy, completeness and uniformity of MLS data.”
In an earlier letter, CREA president Alan Tennant said the board is consulting with their lawyers. “Some of the information that CREA has been asked to provide resides with real estate boards and associations,” said Tennant.
Roy Cooke . “National Certification” …Home Inspection… CMI…