Realtor Police

I posted about the Proceeds of Crime and its effect on Vancouver Real Estate a couple of weeks ago. The clock has ticked a couple of hours and the Feds are anxious to start a little earlier.


So It Begins

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada affectionately known as FINTRAC, has ratched up the the law.


Starting immediately, Realtors® must now comply with the following requirement for every client.


Courtesy RCMP

In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act we are charged with the collection of client information when conducting a real estate transaction.

You Get to Keep Your First Born

If a Realtor® :

  • Receives or pays funds
  • Deposits or withdraws funds or
  • Transfers funds by any means
you will be required to provide the following information.

Your Passport to Buying a Home

We must obtain your full legal name and current address. We must indicate whether you are buying or selling real estate and you must provide one of the following original pieces of identification.

  • a B.C. driver’s license of which the registration number must be recorded
  • a Passport of which the registration number must be recorded with the acknowledgement that it is either a Canadian, US or a passport from another country
  • a Birth Certificate (if it is not from B.C. then one of the other identifications must accompany the certificate

If a Company is the buyer or seller then that company’s registration number must be noted as well as the province, state or country in which the company is registered.

It Gets Better

Further, you must agree to the collection, use and disclosure of the above personal information by the Sales Representative, Brokerage or any of their associates:

  • 1. For purposes directly or indirectly relating to an intended purchase or sales of real estate properties or;
  • 2. For use by the Brokerage or any other governmental agencies of Canada as required.

No Choice

You are required to acknowledge the above in writing. It must be witnessed by your Realtor®.

What would George Do?

Did George Orwell suggest that 1984’s Big Brother would get to this stage.

I reflect on it all and wonder if it will get to the point where we as individuals start reporting to the authorities when our neighbor’s children stay home for a day to just play with Mom and Dad.


Our Boys in Afghanistan

Are We now Truly our Brother’s Keeper?

Is this creeping fear of the known or unknown entity slipping into your life? It sure is now in mine. Buying or Selling a home will drop this new reality of Vancouver Real Estate on your doorstep.

Got a Vancouver Real Estate question? I’ll do my best to answer it. Call or send me an email. Larry

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

Reader Comments:

mila Says:
March 13th, 2008 at 4:30 am

I hear you. But if you look at the rise in mortgage fraud and other criminal activities surrounding real estate transactions those clients that have nothing to hide will be happy to make a full disclosure, As for the extra work required from Realtors – make the best of it. After all you are only protecting your clients’ best interests. Re: Orwell, I would leave him out of it. Orwell is more about politics while all FINTRAC is trying todo is to keep criminal scam at bay.

March 13th, 2008 at 8:09 am

“if we have nothing to hide we will be happy”.
I’m not certain that anyone is happy about not being trusted.

Must we prove ourselves at every step with every purchase? Me-thinks it’s a slippery slope.

Will we be happy to provide a passport and sign a declaration when we buy groceries?

BTW – to my mind politic is government.

March 13th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I love the parts about the broker getting to be responsible to ensure that all of his and her agents have a complete understanding of the legislation. If I could just get them to read the Real Estate Act. Hmmm.

March 13th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

I don’t think you are getting to be responsible. I’m quite certain that under the FINTRAC legislation you already are responsible. We are having bi-weekly seminars with the Ottawa boys who are taking great pains to make sure we understand how much trouble we will be in if we don’t comply.
While I appreciate the essence of this issue and God knows we all want to keep Canada safe, I just feel that somehow I have been forced to become a part of a police state. That part, I’m not happy about.
I can’t wait to see the reaction of the client. I cringe at the thought.

March 13th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

A little at a time.

I’m understanding this legislation to say that the “identity” obligations apply when you perform the functions you outlined above AND you conduct a large cash transaction. Am I wrong about that?

I haven’t ever had a client try to give me $10,000 in cash. Not even aware of one at my brokerage.

March 14th, 2008 at 7:40 am

Receives or pays funds
Deposits or withdraws funds or
Transfers funds by any means

This has been interprited to mean any amount. Does not mean cash alone. I haven’t had someone with a suitcase either but if you follow the three points above it means “any transaction”.
My Broker threw a blanket that dictates a literal understanding of this. “Any money, any time be sure to get the identification or we will not assume any liability and therefore will not process the paper work.”
Street rumor is that a number of brokers are being audited and many have decided to just use the same blanket. Others are either asleep or willing to take their chances.

ines Says:
May 21st, 2008 at 11:17 am

Larry – I have to tell you that these laws become scary because we start discovering the unknown and the “what ifs” – the truth is that I’ve never had a problem collecting identification from our real estate clients. But now I’ll have a few questions lingering in my subconscious.

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