RECA stands for the Real Estate Council of Alberta and it regulates real estate industry professionals in Alberta. This is the regulatory body established by the government of Alberta that oversees the activities of real estate professionals and brokerages in the province. On average Alberta has about 15,000 licensed professionals and you can check online to determine if a person or company is licensed with www.reca.ca. This governing body ensures that individuals trading in real estate activities practice specific standards of conduct. These standards are designed to assist consumers with understanding the conduct expected of an industry professional.
With RECA’s guidance, every real estate brokerage adheres to industry best practices and maintains standards throughout their business dealings. All reputable real estate companies in Alberta should be members of this governing body.
They key standards of conduct for industry professionals include however not limited to: being honest, providing competent service, transparent in terms of fees, fulfilling obligations keeping the client’s best lawful interests in mind and to obey the client’s lawful instructions. Written service agreements are required for mortgage brokers, property managers and residential real estate professionals. A written service agreement outlines the relationship between the client and agent/brokerage, the services, covenants of both parties, compensation details, start date and length of the agreement and more. These must be executed, include terms and conditions, and contain the names, and address of the property in question.
Consumers establish an agency relationship with a real estate brokerage when they agree that the brokerage and its licensed professionals will work on the consumer’s behalf. This is a client relationship. If the brokerage and its industry professionals are not working on behalf of the consumer through an agency relationship, the consumer is a customer, and the brokerage and its industry professionals have reduced responsibilities.
Licensed real estate professionals need to work through a licensed brokerage. One real estate broker manages each brokerage and most brokerages have real estate associate brokers and real estate associates.
Excerpt from https://www.reca.ca/consumers/tools-resources/ask-charles-consumer-questions/contractor-providing-property-management-services/
“The Real Estate Act, which RECA administers, defines property management as:
- leasing, negotiating, approving or offering to lease, negotiate or approve a lease or rental of real estate;
- collecting or offering or attempting to collect money payable for the use of real estate;
- holding money received in connection with a lease or rental of real estate; and
- advertising, negotiating or any other act, directly or indirectly for the purpose of furthering the activities described in items 1-3.
Licensed property managers can find suitable tenants, deal with nuisance tenants, draft lease agreements, and regularly inspect and maintain property on behalf of a property owner. It is up to property managers and the property owners to negotiate the specific tasks the property manager will provide, but ultimately, before providing property management services, the property manager needs a licence.
Property manager licensing provides vital protection for property owners. Individuals must complete comprehensive education before becoming licensed as a property manager, they must also provide a Certified Criminal Record Check to RECA prior to receiving a licence, and there are ongoing education requirements.
If a property owner is working with a licensed property manager, they have the added protection of the Consumer Compensation Fund. The Fund compensates consumers who suffer a financial loss as a result of fraud, breach of trust, or a failure to disburse or account for money held in trust by an industry member in connection with a real estate trade, mortgage deal, or property management services.
If you work with an unlicensed property manager, and the property manager disappears and takes rental payments or damage deposits with them, your only recourse is through the courts.
As a property owner, you’re not required to hire someone to manage your rental or investment property, but if you do, take steps to protect yourself. Ensure that the company and individual you hire are licensed to provide property management services in Alberta. You can check if someone is licensed through RECA’s website at www.reca.ca.