Ontario Abandons Home Energy Audits!


Since 2016, OREA has been fighting to stop Home Energy Rating & Disclosure (HER&D). If implemented, HER&D would require a home seller to conduct an energy audit before listing their home. The program also forced REALTORS® to post the energy score on the MLS® listing.

The OREA Government Relations team lobbied Cabinet Ministers and senior staff at Queen’s Park; commissioned research from the Conference Board of Canada which showed the program was a big waste of tax dollars and fought against an assortment of environmental groups who were all pushing the government to move forward on HER&D. Locally, RAHB representatives met with MPPs at Queen’s Park to speak against HER&D.

Last week, OREA received a letter from the government that said, “The province has decided not to proceed with the implementation of a HER&D program at this time.”

While this is a great win for REALTORS® and homeowners, it is also a wake-up call: governments at all levels are struggling to address issues relating to climate change and the housing sector is being asked to play a part in that work.

New Residential Lease – Update!

Recently, the Ontario Government released a new standardized lease agreement for private residential leases which includes single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condos and secondary units.

Effective April 30, 2018, all leases used by a landlord must be the new standardized lease. For any lease that is signed after this date that is not the standard lease, the tenant will have the right to ask the landlord for a standardized lease in writing. The landlord is required to provide one within 21 days of the request. If one is not provided, the tenant can withhold one month’s rent.

Flexibility is Key

When the Government announced they were creating a standardized lease, OREA worked closely with the Ministry of Housing and participated in their consultations. It was important for OREA to ensure that landlords and tenants be given some flexibility in the terms of the lease. The government responded by including “additional items” section in the standardized lease.

Impact on OREA’s Forms

OREA’s Standard Forms Committee will meet in the coming months to discuss what revisions will need to be made to the Association’s clauses and forms to accommodate this change.

For example, Form 400 – Agreement to Lease – Residential will be reviewed to ensure that any changes that are required will be made. In addition, all of OREA’s Standard Clauses related to residential leases will be reviewed for possible revisions. We will continue to keep you posted as OREA provides further updates in the coming weeks.

You can learn more about the new standard lease by visiting the Ministry of Housing’s website.

Residential Lease Forms

Provincial Budget Update from the RAHB Government Relations Committee

RAHB was invited to the Province’s pre-budget consultations on Monday, January 29, 2018.

Government Relations Committee Vice-Chair Margaret Reid represented RAHB, and made seven recommendations to benefit home buyers, the real estate market and REALTORS®:

1. Increase the first-time home buyer’s Land Transfer Tax Rebate to $6,000 to increase affordability for first-time buyers.

2. Replace the proposed mandatory home energy audits with a plan for voluntary, targeted retrofits.

3. Institute a first-time buyer down payment assistance program to help young people buying their first homes.

4. Provide a land transfer tax rebate as an incentive to seniors to “right-size” into a smaller housing unit to open up larger, family-sized homes for young families and first-time buyers.

5. Remove red tape and government policies that delay construction of new housing stock to encourage more home-building.

6. Permit REALTORS® to incorporate their businesses through a personal real estate corporation (Note: a bill is now awaiting public hearings).

7. Continue the review of REBBA 2002 so the Act can be updated to reflect the modern real estate market and to bring a higher standard of professionalism to the real estate industry.


GR RAHB Provincial Budget

Learn About Burlington’s Proposed New Official Plan

Interested in learning more about Burlington’s proposed New Official Plan?

The City of Burlington will be holding a series of public meetings to cover various aspects of its proposed new Plan.

The meetings will be held through January and February, and members of the public are welcome to attend in person or watch a live webcast.

The first meeting was held on January 8 and covered the sections of the proposed new Official Plan that related to the rural area, agriculture, natural heritage, greenspace and mineral aggregates.


The other meetings and topics are:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 247, Level 2

Topics of discussion:

Employment policies, employment conversions and the mixed-use intensification area policies.

This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017 Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 247, Level 2

Topic of discussion:

A recommendation report related to the downtown will be presented.

The report will contain the supplementary information requested by the council (e.g. background information regarding the Urban Growth Centre boundary; proposed heights compared to the existing in-effect Official Plan; and potential redevelopment sites).

This meeting will consider a new staff report.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 247, Level 2

Topics of discussion:

Growth management, implementation and any remaining topic areas identified by City Council.

This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017 Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 247, Level 2

A second statutory public meeting to present any revisions to the proposed new Official Plan.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. Delegations are not required to register in advance to speak.


Links and Resources

REALTORS® at Queen’s Park!

RAHB delegates to the Ontario Real Estate Association’s  Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference met with local MPPs to discuss two important issues that affect home ownership and real estate registrants: the pending Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D) legislation and the importance of modernizing the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 2002 (REBBA 2002).

The meetings took place during OREA’s annual Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference (formerly known as the Political Action Conference) from November 19-21, 2017 in Toronto. RAHB delegates were President Lou Piriano, RAHB CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations Committee Chair Kathy Della-Nebbia and Vice-chair Nicholas von Bredow and GR staff Valerie Webster.


What’s the Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D)?

The province has proposed a mandatory Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D) program that would require a seller to do an energy audit before they listed their home, then post the results of the audit on the listing. The audits would be paid for by the program. The goal is to reduce green house gases (GHG).

There are a number of reasons OREA and REALTORS® oppose HER&D:

1. Requiring the audit will not ensure that homeowners will follow through with retrofits; therefore, it does nothing to actually reduce green house gases.

2. The government is allotting $250 million for free energy audits. The same amount could be put toward voluntary audits by all home owners (not just those listing their properties) as well as paying for a portion of the retrofits.

3. The HER&D program targets every home that would be for sale, while a study by the Conference Board of Canada determined that retrofits are most needed for the 76 per cent of homes built in 1995 or earlier.

4. Energy auditors are not licensed by a provincial regulator, not subject to an enforced code of ethics or conduct and are not required to carry errors and omissions insurance.

5. Requiring an energy audit could delay the sale of a home – there may not be enough auditors or auditors may not be able to perform audits in a timely manner.

A poll by Nanos Research indicates that Ontario homeowners overwhelmingly support a government program that would give them a tax break to improve their property’s energy efficiency. Consumers who are staying in their homes are more interested in improving energy efficiency than those who are selling their homes.

The Ontario Real Estate Association is proposing a better solution to reduce green house gases: the Green Home Assistance Program.

This program would use the $250 million allotted to the HER&D program to provide incentives to existing home owners to do an energy audit and then green retrofits. This program would target the 76 per cent of Ontario homes built in 1995 or earlier.

What can you do?

You can write to your local MPP and the Minister of Energy to ask the government to cancel HER&D and support more retrofit incentives for Ontario home owners. The Minister of Energy’s office address is listed below.

The Minister of Energy, Hon. Glenn Thibeault
Ministry of Energy
4th Floor, Hearst Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M7A 2E1


What about modernizing REBBA 2002?

OREA and REALTORS® are advocating to strengthen REBBA by:

1. Having stronger deterrents for unethical behaviour and a regulator that would use the legislation to impose appropriate penalties.

2. Improve continuing education by giving registrants the ability to take the program online or in class, and requiring registrants to take a test to demonstrate their understanding of the material.

3. Requiring a more rigorous licensing education program to better prepare new salespeople for the challenges of a modern real estate market.

4. Updating the code of ethics to reflect items such as social media, new business models and other best practices in the industry.

What can you do?

Write to your MPP and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the Hon. Tracy MacCharles to support the review of REBBA to strengthen the legislation. The address for the Minister of Government and Consumer Services is listed below.

The Hon. Tracy MacCharles
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
6th Floor, Mowat Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M7A 1L2

OREA News: Provincial Development Approval Roundtable Action Plan

OREA has been taking part in a provincial roundtable convened as a result of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. The roundtable’s goal is to produce an action plan to address the artificial barriers holding back housing supply.

OREA’s specific recommendations around

  • tying infrastructure investment to better zoning by municipalities for more housing;
  • cutting red tape for a more streamlined development approvals process; and
  • a commitment for home development intensification along transportation corridors

were all incorporated into the Province’s action plan, which will streamline the residential development approval process and bring needed housing to market more quickly and efficiently.

Learn more about the Development Approval Roundtable Action Plan at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page16623.aspx%23Action%20items.

REALTORS® on The Hill: RAHB Government Relations

What do you get with you mix REALTORS® from across Canada and Members of Parliament? CREA PAC Days, of course!

The annual political action conference was held in Ottawa from October 15-17, 2017. RAHB representatives – President Lou Piriano, President-elect Jack Loft and Government Relations Committee members Stephanie Pinet and Margaret Reid – met with MPs Philomena Tassi, David Sweet, Bob Bratina and Karina Gould to discuss recommendations to:

  • extend the Home Buyers Plan to help Canadians through significant life changes such as death of a spouse, marital breakdown or accommodation of an elderly family member
  • allow parents to loan RRSP funds to their adult children for the purchase of a home

Next stop for RAHB PAC representatives? OREA will be holding it’s annual PAC conference November 19-21, and REALTORS® will be speaking with local MPPs at Queen’s Park.

Philomena Tassi

Have Your Say: Modernizing REBBA 2002


Did you know that OREA is leading the charge to modernize REBBA 2002, and they want to hear from you?

The first phase of the review of REBBA 2002 addressed the Province’s interest in banning double-ending real estate transaction. The Ontario Real Estate Association sent the message to Queen’s Park that REALTORS® are interested in higher standards in the real estate profession and that a complete ban on double-ending would not be productive. OREA’s submission was prepared after consultation with real estate boards and associations across Ontario (RAHB was part of the consultation). Watch for updates on how this plays out legislatively this fall.

In Phase 2, the emphasis will be on re-writing REBBA, and OREA is asking you for your input. This is going to be a complete overhaul of REBBA 2001, and everything is on the table. This is the best chance for you, RAHB and OREA to play a significant role in writing the next, better version of REBBA.

How? Over the next few months, OREA will be posting on its website, REBBAReform.ca, a series of white papers with a number of proposals for what changes should be made to REBBA. You can download the complete white paper, or just read the proposals from it, then provide your feedback directly to OREA. It’s simple, it’s fast, and you’ll keep informed about what is happening.

OREA’s white papers will cover:

August – Enforcement (already posted and ready for your comments!)

September – Continuing Education

October – Entrance Education

November – Code of Ethics


Check out the website today, and have your say in the future of real estate!

Multiple representation consultation paper

Recently the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services (MGCS) issued a consultation paper proposing three major changes to the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act:

  1. Establishing a new mandatory designated representation requirement with limited exceptions;
  2. Requiring that mandatory standardized disclosure clauses be used; and
  3. Increasing the maximum fine for Code of Ethics violations from $25,000 to $50,000 for individual salespersons and brokers and $100,000 for brokerages.

The potential measures being considered in this first phase of the review of REBBA 2002 are intended to:

  • Increase consumer confidence by minimizing the conflict of interest involved in multiple representation situations;
  • Make it easier for consumers to better understand the nature of the agreements they are entering; and
  • Strengthen consumer protection by modernizing the penalties for unethical behavior for contraventions of the Code of Ethics.

The consultation is the first phase of the government commitment to review REBBA 2002. The second phase will review all other aspects of the Act and extend into 2018. The focus on multiple representation is in response to negative media coverage (CBC Marketplace) which occurred late in 2016.

RAHB has submitted comments to OREA which is in the process of formulating a response on behalf of Ontario REALTORS®.  This response will be made available to members.

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