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Complaints & Investigations



Complaint Overview

The Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission (the "Commission") is responsible for setting standards of practice for the real estate industry and creating consumer confidence and trust in the industry. The Commission, as part of its mandate, is charged with investigating all complaints and handling discipline through a hearing process set out in The Real Estate Act. Consistent with the Commission's regulatory mandate, the complaint process is intended to deal with the actions and conduct of real estate registrants (brokerages, brokers, branch managers, associate brokers and salespeople), to ensure the public interest is served and protected.

Registrants must be registered with the Commission and are accountable to the Commission through provincial real estate legislation. The Commission relies on the information and feedback provided by consumers and real estate practitioners to identify and address violations of The Real Estate Act, its Regulations, and the Commission Bylaws.


The Importance of Making a Complaint

Reporting your complaints and concerns helps the Commission to protect the public, and allows us to improve education and practice guidelines for registrants. This information guide is designed to help complainants understand their role in the complaint review and investigation process.


What Should I do Before Filing a Complaint?

1.
Determine the nature of your complaint and give careful thought as to the source of the problem. Sometimes, registrants are unfairly accused when another individual is at fault. For example, delays in closing may be due to the conduct of the lending institution, lawyers or landlords.
2.
You should attempt to resolve your complaint with the registrant; the registrant may be able to provide an explanation for his or her actions.
3.
You should attempt to resolve your complaint by contacting the registrant’s broker. The broker is the head of the brokerage and is responsible for supervising all registrants registered in his or her brokerage to ensure compliance with The Real Estate Act, its Regulations, and the Commission Bylaws.
4.
If the registrant and broker do not address the complaint to your satisfaction, and you believe that the registrant's actions do not comply with The Real Estate Act, its Regulations, or the Commission Bylaws, you may make a written complaint to the Commission.


The Complaint Process

If you believe that you have suffered a loss or damage as a result of the actions and/or omissions of a registrant and/or brokerage, you should talk to a lawyer. The Commission is not empowered to award or mediate monetary damages, and may only order restitution in exceptional circumstances. Such matters should be dealt with through a civil action. It is not the responsibility of the Commission to provide legal advice or assistance on matters of civil litigation. Examples of matters the Commission will investigate are failing to protect and promote the interests of a client, the concealment of property defects, unauthorized signing of documents, and misrepresentation.

When we receive a complaint, an assessment of the evidence included and a review of the description of the incident is conducted to decide whether or not the complaint raises compliance issues and falls within the Commission's jurisdiction.

If the complaint does not meet investigation criteria, alternative resolutions may be suggested to the complainant. If the complaint falls within the Commission's jurisdiction, an investigation is commenced and the process of gathering all relevant information begins.



Co-operation is Imperative

The Commission will notify you in writing that your complaint has been received, and may contact you during its evaluation for further information related to your complaint. The Commission, to the extent it deems appropriate, may provide the information and documents you provided, including the complaint form, to the person(s) against whom the complaint is made and any third parties necessary to deal with the complaint. If you telephone the Commission with a complaint and are reluctant to make a written complaint, or are unwilling to cooperate fully with the investigation, the Commission will carefully evaluate the validity of your complaint before deciding whether to proceed with an investigation. Anonymous complaints, written or otherwise, are investigated only if a serious matter is indicated and reliable information is provided. If you make an anonymous complaint to the Commission, your name will not be provided to the registrant(s) named in your complaint 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 a hearing committee decision made available to the public.

The Commission deals with complaints from consumers, industry members, law enforcement agencies, and other regulatory bodies. The Commission also has the authority to order an investigation if information comes from sources other than a written compliant, especially if the information is regarding a threat to the public interest.



What to Include in Your Complaint

1.
The Commission will require your personal information, communication preferences, and your commitment to the complaint evaluation and investigation process.
2.
Please prepare a factual description to explain what happened. Start from the beginning and describe the events in chronological order.
3.
Documentary evidence is especially important! To help expedite the handling of your complaint, please provide legible photocopies of all documents relating to your complaint. Maintain your original copies in a safe and secure location.
4.
The complaint form must be completed, dated and signed to validate your complaint.


How to Submit Your Complaint

You can complete and submit the form on-line OR print the form, complete and forward it to the attention of the Legal & Compliance Department.

• Mail:
   237 Robin Crescent
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7L 6M8

• Email:
   compliance@srec.ca
• Fax:
   (306)373-2295


What Happens Next?

When someone reports a concern to the Commission about the actions or conduct of a Registrant, a three-stage process is set in motion:

• Stage 1 -
   a) Investigation and Evidence Gathering
b) Preparation of Recommendation Report to the Investigation Committee

• Stage 2 -
   Consideration by the Investigation Committee
• Stage 3 -
   Negotiation and/or Formal Hearing

The Commission receives many written complaints each year. Stage 1 of the process may take three to six months. During Stage 2, the Investigation Committee decides whether to take further action on or whether to dismiss a complaint. This may take several weeks. If further action is required, the process moves to Stage 3. The timing of this stage depends greatly on the level of cooperation from the registrant, complainant, and other possible parties. Stage 3 could take anywhere from three months to a year or more.

During the process, the Commission's compliance department works diligently to move matters forward as quickly as possible. Updates will be sent to the complainant as each new stage is reached. Once a decision has been made, the complainant and registrant will be advised of their rights to appeal.