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When to file a complaint with RECO and what to expect when you do: Ask Joe

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Do I need to know if a law has been broken before I file a complaint with RECO? What happens after a complaint has been filed?

The short answer to your question is no, the onus is not on you to determine if the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, (REBBA) has been violated.

But if you do file a complaint against a real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage using the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s (RECO) online complaint form, please provide as many details as possible and submit any relevant documents or other materials to help us make that assessment.

Reporting your complaint helps us protect the public and allows us to enhance education and practice guidelines for the industry. That said, before you file a complaint, we ask that you first try to discuss the issue with your salesperson and possibly with their broker of record (the brokerage manager), because many complaints or simple misunderstandings — such as unreturned phone calls or a perceived lack of communication — can be resolved at that level with a frank dialogue. My experience is that businesses want to resolve matters; it’s good for business.

Generally speaking, the industry is highly committed to meeting RECO’s consumer protection standards. In fact, on an annual basis, 25 to 30 per cent of the complaints we receive come from individuals who are registered with us: salespeople and brokers.

Should you decide the issue can’t be resolved at the brokerage level and you must file a complaint, RECO will conduct an investigation and usually ask you to provide additional information and documents. Meanwhile, the subject of your complaint and their brokerage, will be notified that a complaint has been made, and they will be given an opportunity to respond. Regardless of the outcome, you will be advised of our decision.

Every complaint is unique, so the time needed to close a case file depends upon the nature of the allegation and the information that’s available to us. For conduct that is supported by sufficient evidence and is within our mandate, disciplinary actions can range from education requirements and fines up to $50,000 for individuals ($100,000 for brokerages). Violations of REBBA are referred to the Ontario Court of Justice.

If we’re concerned that a salesperson will not obey the law, will not act with honesty and integrity or is financially irresponsible in their business dealings, RECO can take steps to suspend or revoke their registration. This happens in a very small percentage of cases.

Keep in mind that RECO can’t get you out of a legally binding agreement with a brokerage or another party, and we don’t have the authority to resolve monetary or contractual disputes or to assess or award damages. Discuss your options with a lawyer if you’re considering any legal action.

If you have a question for Joe about the home-buying or -selling process, please email askjoe@reco.on.ca.

Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps

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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener

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The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

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Candidate slate set for Halifax election as mayoral race grows to three candidates

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The slate of candidates for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s upcoming election has been finalized and it’s now officially a three-horse race for the municipality’s mayoral seat.

Incumbent mayor Mike Savage will face off against Coun. Matt Whitman, the current representative for the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets, and political newcomer Max Taylor.

Whitman and Savage have previously announced their plans to run but Taylor’s inclusion in the race was a last minute surprise.

On his campaign’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old says his platform is “simple”

“Get out and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, I care that you vote,” he writes.

One of the more notable aspects of Taylor’s presence in the race is his status on social media platform Tik Tok.

He’s built a following of more than 600,000 people on the platform and his videos have generated more than 20.6 million likes.

What that will do for his candidacy is up in the air, but he’s sure to bring a youthful energy to the process.

 

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Here’s what Toronto’s new 57-storey skyscraper will look like

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The corner of Bay and Harbour may be getting a new 57-storey office tower perched atop the heritage Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Updated plans for The Hub — a skyscraper from multinational corporation Oxford Properties — have been submitted, and if approved, will see a building designed by London-based firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to 30 Bay Street.

The project near Toronto’s waterfront which was initially proposed in 2018 will add around 1.4 million square feet of office space to the neighbourhood. The building’s west side will also be directly connected to The PATH network.

The Hub will also sit overtop (but only lightly touching) its next door neighbour: the six-storey Toronto Harbour Commission Building, which was built in 1917.

Nicknamed “The T”, the historic building was sold to Oxford in 2017 for $96 million. Fun fact: The T is also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a janitor.

It’s not entirely clear how the interior of the old Commission Building will play into The Hub’s commercial workspace, but the design of the 57-storey building shows the strategic use of four columns to allow for distance between the main building and The T.

The two buildings will be connected by a “finely detailed glazed atrium.”

Windows will stretch from floor to ceiling in the four-storey lobby, which will be home to restaurants, retail spaces, meeting and event spaces, and maybe a fitness facility.

Floors five to eight of the podium will see larger office floors.

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