Holding Oneself Out

Purpose:  This bulletin describes activities of an unlicensed person that lead people to believe they are an industry member.

This bulletin applies to all unlicensed persons and industry professionals who do not hold an authorization to provide the services of an industry member.

If you represent you are a real estate broker, property manager, mortgage broker or a real estate appraiser, you must have a licence from the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA).

For example, a person must hold a RECA licence if they do any of the following activities:   

Real estate
A person must hold a real estate broker licence to assist or represent another person to buy or sell real estate.  For example:

Property management
A person must hold a real estate broker licence to provide property management services for landlords and tenants.  For example:

Mortgage broker
A person must hold a mortgage broker licence to deal in mortgages for borrowers and lenders.  For example:

Real estate appraisers
A person must hold a real estate appraiser licence to provide real estate appraisal services.  For example:

Market and promote services requires a licence
Anything you do to advertise, attract business or lead the public to believe you are real estate broker, property manager, mortgage broker or a real estate appraiser, requires a licence from RECA. 

An advertisement is any activity, public notice or solicitation that promotes your business and services in any medium including electronic means, print, radio, television or publication on the Internet. It includes all promotional events, printed material, circulars, pamphlets, billboards, signs, business cards, letterhead, bench signs, fax cover sheets and other similar materials.

What happens if you do not have a licence?
If RECA receives information you are carrying on activities that require a licence, it will conduct an investigation under the Real Estate Act (Act)

If you are unlicensed and hold yourself out as a real estate broker, property manager, mortgage broker or real estate appraiser, you are in breach of the s.17 of the Act. The executive director of RECA may issue an administrative penalty to a maximum of $25,000 for each breach.  Where a corporation commits the breach, the executive director may also issue an administrative penalty to an officer, director or agent of the corporation.

Instead of issuing an administrative penalty, RECA may prosecute this breach through the courts. A person convicted of an offence under s.17 shall, in addition to any fine levied by the court, return all commissions or other remuneration received as a result of the unlicensed activity.

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