What is the complaint process?
When an investigation file is opened, the registrant who is the subject of the complaint is forwarded a copy of the written complaint. The Review Officer obtains a written response from the registrant and if necessary, information from third parties. The Review Officer prepares a report summarizing the investigation and submits the report to the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to proceed with further action against a registrant for a breach of the real estate legislation.
How do I file a complaint about a real estate registrant?
If you have been involved in a trade in real estate in which you believe a real estate agent (registrant) may have acted improperly, you may file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission (the “Commission”). Note: The Commission is not empowered to resolve commission disputes, make monetary settlements or adjudicate contract matters. This link will take you directly to the Commission’s on-line complaint form.
There are several ways to submit your complaint to the Commission:
- You can complete and submit a Complaint Form online.
- You can download and print a copy of the Complaint Form to complete. Once complete, you can submit the form and any attachments to the Commission via mail, fax, or email.
- You can contact the Compliance Department of the Commission and request that a copy of the Complaint Form be sent to you.
Can I make an anonymous complaint?
Yes. If you wish to remain anonymous, your complaint will be reviewed. If, upon review, the Review Officer is of the opinion that an investigation is warranted and possible without your participation, the Commission will open the investigation on its own motion. Your name will not be provided to the registrant under investigation and you will have no further involvement in the investigation process. You will not be entitled to updates on the investigation, nor will you be advised of the conclusions of the Investigation Committee, unless the investigation results in sanctions that are made available to the public.
What documentation needs to be attached to the complaint?
A complaint should include any and all documents that are relevant and/or support the allegations of your complaint. This will likely include transaction documents and your correspondence with the registrant. Send photocopies of your documents. Do not send the originals. Keep the original documentation for your personal files.
Will my complaint automatically lead to an investigation?
No, all complaints are first reviewed by the Review Officer to determine whether or not the complaint meets the following criteria:
• Does the complaint fall within the Commission's jurisdiction?
• Does the complaint provide sufficient indication that a registrant may have violated the real estate legislation?
If the complaint meets both above criteria, the complaint will be investigated.
What power does the Review Officer have?
Under The Real Estate Act, the Review Officer may inquire into and examine the business affairs of the registrant subject to the investigation, and may examine and inquire into:
• The actions of registrants
• Any books, papers, documents
• Correspondence, communications, negotiations
• Transactions, investigations
• Loans, borrowings and payments to, by, on behalf of or in relation to or connected with the complaint
Every registrant who is subject to an investigation must co-operate in the investigation or risk having their registration suspended.
What are my obligations after I submit my complaint?
In many cases, an investigation into the actions of a registrant cannot proceed without additional information from the complainant. You may be contacted by the Review Officer during the investigation and, if the matter proceeds to a discipline hearing, you may be called as a witness.
How long will it take for my complaint to get resolved?
There is no established time frame for the investigation process. The time taken to investigate a complaint depends on the workload of the investigators (Review Officers) and the complexity of the case. While it is the Commission’s intent to deal with all complaints and investigations in a timely manner to ensure the public interest is properly served, it will usually take several months.
Will you keep me informed of any progress?
During the investigation process, the Commission’s policy is to refrain from providing detailed updates on the progress of the investigation as this might jeopardize the objectivity of the investigator. General information on the progress of the investigation may be given upon request. According to The Real Estate Act, you will be advised of the decisions of the Investigation Committee and of the Hearing Committee as they occur.
How am I notified as to the status of my complaint?
Upon receipt of your written complaint, the Review Officer will respond back to you advising as to whether your complaint will be investigated. Unless additional information is required from you, the Review Officer will not contact you again until a decision has been made to take no further action or to proceed with charges for violation(s) under the real estate legislation. You will be notified in writing of the decision and in the case where a registrant has been charged, you will be advised of the specific violation and the penalty imposed.
Can I withdraw my complaint? If I settle with the complainant, will you stop the investigation?
The complainant may withdraw his or her complaint, although this does not guarantee that the investigation will stop. If there is evidence of misconduct on the part of a registrant, the Commission may continue the investigation on its own motion.
What if the Investigation Committee decides that no further action is to be taken? Can I appeal this decision?
If you are dissatisfied with the Investigation Committee’s decision that no further action be taken, you can apply for a review of the decision by forwarding a written request to the attention of the Investigation Committee. Your request for review must contain reasons for consideration. Review requests are submitted to a different member of the Investigation Committee for deliberation.
What will the Investigation Committee do after reviewing the request for an appeal?
After conducting a further review regarding the reasons for the appeal, the Investigation Committee may:
• direct that no further action be taken if the registrant has not violated the real estate legislation or there is insufficient evidence to support a violation; OR
• direct that further action be taken against a registrant for a breach of the legislation.
What happens if the Commission decides that a registrant has violated the real estate legislation?
The Investigation Committee will work with the registrant to come to an agreement regarding the facts of the transaction, the alleged breach of the legislation and the appropriate penalty for the breach. If the Investigation Committee and the registrant can agree to all of these items, a Consent Order will be prepared and presented to a Hearing Committee for approval. The Hearing Committee may accept or reject the Consent Order. If the Investigation Committee and the registrant fail to agree on any or all of these items, the matter will be decided by way of a hearing before a Hearing Committee.
Will I have to be a witness?
The Commission may request information from the complainant and the registrant during the investigation. If the matter goes to a hearing or prosecution, the complainant may be asked to testify.
Can the information I give you be used in court?
The Real Estate Act states that information that is gathered by an investigator cannot be used in a prosecution under other laws or in a civil law suit.
Does the Commission publicize the results of its investigations?
Yes, when there is a finding of misconduct. Investigation case summaries are included in the Commission's newsletter, The Register. The full Hearing Committee decision will be available on the Commission website, and decisions older than three years continue to be available on the CanLII website.
Can I find out if a registrant has had any complaints filed against him/her?
The Commission does not provide information about whether or not complaints have been filed against a registrant. If a complaint has resulted in disciplinary action against a registrant, the Hearing Committee decision is posted on the Commission website. Decisions will remain on the Commission website for three years. The Commission is in the process of publishing all hearing decisions to the CanLII website.
Will you get me my money back and/or provide for my damages? If a registrant has committed professional misconduct, can I cancel the deal?
The Commission’s investigations and sanctions deal only with the conduct of the registrant involved. The return of deposits or other funds and issues regarding contracts are left to the Courts.
What can’t the Commission do about my complaint?
The Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission cannot provide the following information or investigate the following types of problems or situations:
• Provide you with personal information about registrants.
• Tell you if a registrant has ever had a complaint filed against him/her.
• Give you a legal opinion on how real estate legislation will apply to your particular situation.
• Tell you whether or not your situation constitutes a violation of real estate legislation without completing an investigation.
• Order a registrant to cancel a listing agreement, stop the sale of a property or nullify a purchase and sale agreement.
• Award damage settlements to complainants.
• Mediate or assist in resolving commission disputes.
• Give you a legal interpretation of clauses contained in real estate contracts.
• Recommend the services of a particular registrant.
Can I also file a complaint with my local real estate board?
Yes, it is possible for the local real estate board and the Commission to investigate the same complaint. The local real estate board enforces its own bylaws, rules and/or code of conduct, while the Commission enforces The Real Estate Act, the Regulations and the Commission Bylaws. As a result, the two investigations may focus on different aspects of the complaint. For more information about the jurisdiction and complaints process of the local real estate board, you should contact the board directly.
How do I determine if my situation warrants a complaint?
You can call our office at 1-877-700-5233 (toll free) or 306-374-5233 and discuss the matter with the Commission staff. The Commission can answer questions about The Real Estate Act, as well as general questions about real estate transactions. The Commission staff cannot provide information or advice about your particular legal situation.