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RAHB’s Latest Updates

Update to FINTRAC Regime Materials Now Available

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) has issued new guidance and policy interpretations REALTORS® must abide by to satisfy compliance with Regime requirements.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) continues to support REALTORS® by providing tools and resources to assist in complying to Regime obligations.

As a result, CREA has updated its FINTRAC compliance materials to reflect:

•    Scanned or photocopied documentation may now be used as part of the dual process method of identification. Previously, only original documentation could be used. This change makes it easier for REALTORS® to identify their clients remotely. No in-person meetings are required. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a timely modernization reflective of CREA’s lobbying efforts in 2019.

•    FINTRAC’s updated guidance on terrorist property lists.

•    A new deadline for suspicious transactions as a result of a change in the law. The new deadline is “as soon as practicable” after measures have been taken to enable a REALTOR® to establish there are reasonable grounds to suspect the transaction or attempted transaction is related to the commission of a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence.

•    The addition of a “wire transfer” check box in CREA’s template receipt of funds record.

•    Other minor changes.

FINTRAC has committed to “a reasonable and flexible approach with respect to the implementation of recent regulatory amendments.”

Revised materials, which incorporate the changes, are now available on REALTOR Link®. Revised forms will be posted on CREA WEBForms® starting May 15, 2020.

Further to this, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, FINTRAC announced on April 23, 2020 that REALTORS® are temporarily allowed to verify their clients’ identities using government-issued photo identification over video conferencing technology where the use of the dual process method or credit file methods of identification are not available. Effective immediately, in such circumstances, a REALTOR® can ask their clients to display their driver’s licenses on video using programs such as Zoom or FaceTime, and rely on their judgement to verify the authenticity of the ID being displayed. However, REALTORS® that rely on this method should keep a record of why it was not possible to verify that client’s identity using traditional methods of identification. They should also keep a record of all clients identified using the temporary flexibility in order to re-verify their identity in accordance with the law when the physical distancing measures have been lifted by public health authorities.

As stated earlier, this is a temporary measure. Despite its temporary status, additional flexibility for identifying clients is welcome and provides REALTORS® with more options to safely meet their legal obligations. Given that the use of video conferencing technology for client verification is something CREA has advocated for years, we will continue to press the government and FINTRAC to maintain this position, once the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.

If you have any questions, please contact support@crea.ca.

Coming Soon – RAHB Member Pandemic Survey

In the coming days, RAHB will be asking brokers of record, managers, brokers and salespersons to help us to determine the additional support and services that RAHB members need most during the pandemic.This survey will be sent via e-mail, be available for one week, and should only take a few minutes of your time.

 

By participating in this survey and providing us with valuable information, you could win a Realty Shoppe gift basket- valued at $50.Thank you in advance for your participation.

Flexible Possession

Recently, RAHB has received complaints surrounding the field “Possession”; specifically the pick “Flexible” is not being used as intended.

The field “Possession” has several picks to choose from as follows:

  • Immediate
  • Flexible
  • 1-29 days
  • 30-59 days
  • 60-89 days
  • 90+days
  • Other

The word “Flexible” means to be ready and able to change to adapt to different circumstances, or able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions. If “Flexible” is chosen, be sure your Seller(s) are in fact “Flexible”, in that they can adapt to different possession scenarios; otherwise choose a more specific pick as listed above that will suit your Seller(s) scenario.

“Flexible” does not mean the following:

  • “We are looking for 90-120 days”
  • “For the right price, we may be able to be flexible”
  • “It’s a split up, one party wants a long closing, the other party wants a short closing, so we chose Flexible”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the MLS Help Desk at 905.667.4650 or e-mail support@rahb.ca.

Curb-Side Pick-up Now Available for RAHB Realty Shoppe on Tuesdays and Fridays

Effective Wednesday June 17, the Realty Shoppe will now offer curbside pick-up two days a week! You can utilize the curbside pick-up on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Just a reminder that the Realty Shoppe will be modifying service delivery with curbside pick-up to serve our members better, and to adhere to the health and safety guidelines outlined by the province.

  • Supply orders must be pre-ordered by e-mail at realtyshoppe@rahb.ca, or by phone at 905.529.5979.
  • Orders must be pre-paid, and payment must be on your credit card or your RAHB account. Payment by debit and/or cash is not available at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • A twice weekly pick-up of pre-ordered supply orders will be available each Tuesday and Friday, via curbside pick-up only, at the parking lot entry door for the RAHB offices. Entry into the RAHB building and in-person shopping is not be permitted at this time.
  • Curb-side pick-up: A pre-determined pick-up time will be coordinated by Realty Shoppe staff with each member. Upon arrival, the member must wait in their vehicle within the RAHB parking lot, and Shoppe staff will bring the order out of the building and place it on a designated table in order to adhere to social distancing measures.
  • No RAHB staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and RAHB staff working within the Realty Shoppe do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

RAHB REALTORS® release April 2020 market statistics

The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 482 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in April 2020. Sales are down 63.4 per cent over April 2019 and 56 per cent over last month. The average price for residential properties was $614,412, which is up 4.3 per cent from April last year, but down 6.6 per cent from last month.

Follow the links below for:

Burlington

Halidmand

Hamilton

Niagara North

 

Reminder – Door-to-Door Materials

A reminder that dropping off door-to-door materials is considered a non-essential service during COVID-19 under section 19 of the essential list provided by the Government of Ontario. Please hold off from dropping any materials door-to-door until the essential list is changed.

List of essential services.

Welcome New Members!

We extend a warm welcome to RAHB’s newest members who joined our association between April 1 – April 29, 2020!

Joseline Nicholas
Keller Williams Complete Realty

Faisal Hamadi
Sarah Lawson

Keller Williams Edge Realty

Fady Rassam
Homelife Professionals Realty Inc.

Hamid Amirrad
Right At Home Realty

Reminder Rental Scams

Recently, a RAHB member found their listing posted for rent without permission on an online classified website. Luckily, the member was contacted by a potential renter and confirmed that the posting was not real. Please remind your clients to be viligent when searching online websites and to refer back to REALTOR.ca for more information or to contact their REALTOR®.

If you see or are affected by a rental scam, Hamilton Police Services suggests reporting the ad to the website where the rental is posted, working with your financial institution if money has been sent, and reporting incidents to local police services. They also recommend reporting to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre to report – please go to https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/. Please note there are no telephone lines for the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre at this time.

Configure Your Listings for Virtual Showings in ShowingTime

In an effort to continue to deliver quick and meaningful solutions to members, ShowingTime is rolling out new listing controls for virtual showings the evening of Monday, April 27.

ShowingTime’s latest release gives listing agents more control over how they prefer showings are conducted on their listings and the capability to easily communicate appointment information for each listing.

Listing agents can now configure their listings for 1) Virtual Appts Only 2) In-Person and Virtual Appts or 3) In-Person Appts Only. This setting can be configured per listing by choosing from a drop-down menu on each listing’s setup worksheet, or agents can choose a setting for all their listings in their user profile.

When Virtual Appts Only is selected, the access details for the home are intentionally hidden from the buyer’s agent. They remain in the account should you decide to switch the listing back to allow In-Person Appts, but are not visible for Virtual Appts Only since no one will be accessing the home.

Notes added by the listing agent are highlighted for easy visibility by the buyer’s agent and include information on how the virtual showing will happen. When using the ShowingTime app, agents can easily share these notes by tapping the newly added ‘share’ button and sending the information via text or email.

Virtual Live Stream Tours – REALTOR.ca

It has come to RAHB’s attention that users are posting URLs for a pre-recorded walk through or a virtual tour, rather than a Virtual Live Stream Tour on REALTOR.ca.

You are reminded of the following:

  1. The posted URL only remains active in the time period you specified; and then disappears.
  2. Virtual Live Stream Tours are advertised on REALTOR.ca and intended as a real time walk through of the property, with the Listing Salesperson available to answer questions at that time of the Virtual Live Stream Tour.

Below is how your Virtual Live Stream Tour is advertised on REALTOR.ca:

Pre-recorded videos should only be placed under the “Virtual Tour URL” or “Additional Images URL” in Matrix as shown below:

If you will be hosting a Virtual Live Stream Tour, you may enter the date, time and URL under “Open Houses” in Matrix as shown below:

Should you have any questions, please contact the RAHB MLS® Help Desk at 905.667.4650 or support@rahb.ca.

City of Burlington’s Three-Month Work Plan and Financial Impacts of COVID-19

The Burlington City Council’s next meeting will be on Monday, April 20 at 9:30 a.m.

This council meeting will see Burlington senior staff providing an update about the financial impacts of COVID-19 and seek Council’s endorsement of a three-month strategy that prioritizes which City services will be provided through to the end of June 2020.

Financial impacts of COVID-19

A report detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City of Burlington’s budget will be presented. This report will include:

  • Estimated revenue impacts of $7.6 million to June 30, 2020;
  • Estimated expenditure savings of $5.2 million to June 30, 2020;
  • Cash flow projections to June 30, 2020;
  • Future financial modelling to identify pressures, dependent on the length of the pandemic, and recovery scenarios.

Municipalities are required to approve a balanced budget; however, the City of Burlington can have a shortfall or surplus in a given year. A shortfall can be offset by:

  • Using reserve funds;
  • Increasing taxes in the next year; or
  • Reducing expenditures during the year of the anticipated shortfall. This is what Burlington is attempting to do to mitigate a shortfall at year-end.

Housing Call Out

The City of Hamilton has reached out to RAHB with an urgent need regarding housing for individuals and families currently in shelter and/or hotels. Please see below for a message from Paul Johnson, Director, Emergency Operations Centre at the City of Hamilton.

 

Dear Housing Partner,

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Hamilton is committed to supporting Hamiltonians and taking every precaution to keep our community as healthy and safe as possible.

As you may have noted during the City’s COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday night, keeping housing placements moving is one of ways we hope to accomplish this; connecting individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homelessness to support and appropriate resources, which includes permanent housing.

We need your help. The City is looking for private market rental units to fill an immediate need: to house individuals and families currently in shelter and/or hotels who could move in with minimal supports. For some people, we will be able to match them up with the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit that took effect April 1. We are asking landlords who have a vacant unit that is move-in ready to work with the City to create long term tenancies with financial support.

Working together on housing placements will achieve a number of goals:

  • Create more assured rental income with a longer-term tenant
  • Foster a sustainable investment
  • Provide additional supports for these new tenants
  • Contribute to the shared community goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19

Thanks to additional support from both the federal and provincial governments, we have an opportunity to provide financial supports in the long term to help facilitate housing plans.

If you have any available units for rent and/or would like additional information, please contact housing@hamilton.ca.

I want to thank you in advance for stepping in to help our community during this unprecedented crisis. We are all in this together.

Sincerely,

Paul Johnson

Please click the link to read Paul Johnson’s letter: Apr-17-20 – Housing Call Out

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Impact Survey #1

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is asking for Hamilton’s business community to provide feedback on the impact COVID-19 has had on their business, the effectiveness of existing programs and initiatives, and options or suggestions on policy, programs and initiatives that should be considered in the short term.

To participate in the survey, please click the button below:

Update – March Statistics & Seasonally Adjusted Data

On April 15, CREA released their national statistics and chose to focus on seasonally adjusted data, while highlighting individual markets across the country. For the release, please visit https://www.crea.ca/news/canadian-home-sales-and-listings-down-in-march/.

RAHB, as well as several other associations/boards across Canada, reported an increase in the number of sales month-over-month (actual) from February to March 2020; however, the seasonally adjusted numbers published by CREA show decreases. For example, RAHB reported a 10 per cent increase in the number of sales (actual) from February to March of this year, while CREA reported a decrease of 24.9 per cent in sales (seasonally adjusted) for the same time period.

The media published CREA’s release and data, but did not explain that the data was seasonally adjusted. For the CBC article, please visit https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-march-real-estate-1.5532748.

We are working with CREA to correct any media that have not properly identified and explained seasonally adjusted data; however, this has caused confusion among REALTORS® across Canada, as well as in the eyes of the public.

RAHB has contacted CREA and asked that they:

  • Emphasize that their data is seasonally adjusted.
  • Include a clear definition of seasonally adjusted data.
  • Provide a clear explanation of the difference between seasonally adjusted data provided by CREA and actual data provided by boards/associations.
  • Focus on data at the national level, allowing boards and associations to publish regional data.

RAHB and other boards and associations use actual data in statistics releases, and refrain from focusing on seasonally adjusted data as it is quite complicated for the public to understand. CREA does provide a high-level explanation on their website – https://www.creacafe.ca/seasonally-adjusted-mysteries-revealed/.

Below are some points RAHB members can use to explain CREA’s seasonally adjusted data with clients:

  • The majority of regional boards/associations – including RAHB – publish raw data within their monthly market statistics reports to show the actual activity that took place within any given month.
  • CREA uses seasonally adjusted data to identify trends.
  • Seasonal adjustment strips out normal seasonal fluctuations that otherwise affect data, and levels the playing field for each month.
  • CREA states that using seasonally adjusted data makes every month 30 days with four weekends and no holidays.
  • The effect of seasonal adjustment is that it reduces readings for months which normally get a seasonal lift, and boosts them for months which normally see a seasonal slump.
  • Seasonally adjusted data is how governments, financial institutions and market analysts look at the figures.
  • Seasonally adjusted statistics result from raw data being fed into a complicated computer model.

RAHB uses actual data because:

  • Actual data is the raw data collected in any given time period.
  • Raw data shows the confirmed/real activity that took place during any given time period.
  • Actual (raw) data is generally easier to understand.
  • Publishing actual (raw) data allows REALTORS® to analyze their specific section of the market.

If you have any questions, please contact communications@rahb.ca.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – April 8

On April 8, Minister Morneau further explained the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

The Federal Government is responding to concerns of the business community by amending previously announced conditions about the proposed CEWS:

  • To measure revenue, compare the revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of the revenue earned in January and February 2020.
  • For March, the Federal Government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible by reducing the 30 per cent benchmark of revenue losses to 15 per cent. For April and May, a business will need to demonstrate a 30 per cent loss, once again. This is to recognize that many businesses did not begin to be affected by COVID-19 until partway through March.
  • In recognition that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could vary between sectors, employers are now allowed to measures revenues either based on accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received).

Additionally, the Federal Government is proposing that employers who are eligible for the CEWS be entitled to receive a 100 per cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to EI and the Canada Pension Plan.

To learn more about the The Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, please click here.

To read about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (April 3), please click here.

CONNECT Update: Retiring CONNECT

Just a reminder that RAHB received notice from TRREB stating that, on April 30, 2020, TRREB is retiring CONNECT.  

Following the receipt of TRREB’s notice, RAHB staff have been engaged in discussions with the remaining CONNECT member Boards and Associations to explore future collaboration and data sharing opportunities via IntraMatrix.

RAHB is committed and open to reciprocal data sharing with other Ontario Boards and Associations.  Currently, RAHB has data sharing agreements in place with ORTIS and the Ontario Collective. The Ontario Collective and ORTIS are in the final stages of merging their efforts and implementing a new Matrix system for all of their users. RAHB has been working with ORTIS/OC and Corelogic to test the updated data share, which will be launched with the newly merged system. Once testing has been completed, RAHB members will then have access to all ORTIS and Ontario Collective listings within Matrix.

New Appointment Type in ShowingTime: Virtual Showing

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way REALTORS® do business. Orders from local governments and recommendations from public health officials alike have inspired resourceful agents to seek new ways to serve their clients.

With the ever-changing environment, REALTORS® have been giving virtual showings to their clients using a variety of methods including group video conferencing tools, 360-degree views of the home and prerecorded video tours.

To help accommodate these new kinds of appointments, ShowingTime has added a new appointment type, Virtual Showing, for showing REALTORS® to use when requesting a showing. By selecting this option, the showing REALTOR® is indicating to the listing REALTOR® that their client would prefer a virtual showing of the property. The showing REALTOR® can also add a note for the listing REALTOR® indicating which streaming video technology they prefer to use for the showing (FaceTime, etc.).

Reference ShowingTime’s Virtual Showing Guide for help getting started and for more information on virtual showings, check out ShowingTime’s resource page.

Virtual Open Houses/ Live Streams

The Government of Ontario has officially prohibited the hosting of open houses, effective 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

However, beginning April 7, 2020, users may advertise virtual showings/ live streams through Matrix and REALTOR.ca.

To advertise a virtual showing or live stream, please follow the instructions below:

  • Login to Matrix
  • Click the blue “Input” tab
  • Under “Quick Modify”, select the listing
  • Click “Open Houses”
  • Enter the “Start Date”
  • Enter the “Start Time” and the “End Time”
  • The open house“Type” automaticallywill default to “Virtual”
  • Under “Virtual Open House URL” enter or paste your virtual showing/ live stream URL

The date and time of your virtual showing/ live stream will be displayed on the REALTOR® Full Report, under the photos as shown below:

Users can use the “Open House” search in Matrix to review a virtual showing/ live stream list.

All virtual showing/ live stream URLs entered into Matrix will also be displayed on REALTOR.ca for the public as shown below:

If you have any questions, please contact the MLS® Help Desk at 905.667.4650 or support@rahb.ca.

The Personal – COVID-19

In an effort to support its clients, The Personal is offering an auto insurance premium discount to clients who are staying at home. As people are currently driving their vehicles less, The Personal wants to reflect this situation, offering this discount to clients whose commuting habits have significantly changed and who are only using their vehicles for essential trips to such places as the pharmacy or grocery store. This discount is open to people who, for example, are now working from home or have lost their job, or to anyone who is self-isolating. The discount will be calculated over a three-month period and will be in proportion to the annual mileage declared on their insurance contract. Eligible clients who are interested in receiving this rebate should apply at by May 31 at https://www.thepersonal.com/This news can be found on our dedicated landing page at https://www.thepersonal.com/covid-19-en

In addition, using a personal vehicle for delivery purposes will be temporarily covered under auto insurance policies for The Personal clients. No additional insurance premium will be required, whether someone is doing the deliveries as a volunteer or as an employee of a restaurant, pharmacy or grocery store. No action is required; this relief measure automatically applies to all auto insurance policyholders. This coverage does not apply to people who offer delivery services through third party apps and services like UberEats, Skip the Dishes or DoorDash.

As well, since the current situation is forcing many people to work from home, The Personal has decided to temporarily raise the coverage limit under home insurance contracts  for goods used to work from home (e.g., ergonomic chair, computer equipment) to $10,000. No action is required; this additional coverage automatically applies to all home insurance policyholders.

These relief measures are on top of those previously announced. For example, adding liability coverage for a borrowed or rented vehicle at no extra charge for auto insurance policyholders returning early from the US in a rental car. As well, clients who are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19 may continue to receive insurance premium payment relief measures. Each situation will be handled on a case by case basis.

In the context of the  COVID-19 pandemic, we want to assure you that we are here for you.  For more  information, we  invite you to visit our dedicated web page  at  thepersonal.com/covid-19

Banned Open Houses

The Government of Ontario has updated it’s list of non-essential businesses in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although real estate services are still considered essential, the government has prohibited the hosting of open houses effective 11:59 a.m. on Saturday April 4, 2020.

Real estate brokerages, brokers and salespeople must cease hosting and attending open houses. In addition, it is strongly recommended that brokers and salespeople follow the direction of health officials by limiting showings to situations where they are absolutely necessary.

In addition, the government added requirements for short-term accommodation rentals. After April 4, short term rentals can only be provided to individuals who need housing during the state of emergency.

For more information on virtual showings please click here.

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