BC government to amend Property Law Act to add cooling off period – what you need to know
At a glance (2 minute read)
- The BC government is laying the groundwork to institute a cooling off period for homebuyers that will allow them to back out of a purchase after signing a contract.
- The cooling off period, called "Home Buyer Protection Period", will be in place by summer.
- BCFSA will soon release details on how this will work.
Minister of Finance Selina Robinson said this change will be in place by summer.
What we know so far
Robinson provided few details on how the cooling off period would work, saying that the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) will release a report with more information in the coming weeks.
The report will inform the development of the regulations, and will include details on:
- The length of the period,
- Financial penalties for buyers who rescind an offer, and
- Regional variations in the legislation to address the differences between local housing markets.
During the press conference, the minister implied that a regional variation provision could be used to provide flexibility if the market changes.
The REALTOR® response
A cooling off period could have unintended consequences. Buyers could make bad faith offers that could tie up sellers, causing undue hardship and potentially preventing sellers from purchasing their next home.
Your Board, along with the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA), has been recommending a pre-offer period as an alternative policy approach where offers couldn’t be presented to a seller until the listing has been posted for five business days.
“It would be easier for everyone to get in, do their due diligence, and then just take the offers after,” said Daniel John, REBGV Chair in an interview with CityNews.
BCREA, with support of BC’s real estate boards, published a white paper on February 28 that contains 30 policy recommendations for the provincial government, including the pre-offer period recommendation.
Your Board is working with BCREA to advocate this approach to MLAs across the province. You can help amplify this message by emailing the minister of finance (FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca) and copy your local MLA using this template.
BCREA also released a response to the announcement, which cited a recent poll that found only 35 per cent of British Columbians are in favour of the cooling off period.
In the news
Your Board and BCREA have been advocating for the Realtor perspective in the media. We encourage you to share these stories on your social media platforms.