BrokerageIndustry News

Toronto board’s VOW proposal doesn’t satisfy regulators

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Canadian regulators say a proposal by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to allow real estate brokers to operate "virtual office websites" (VOWs) doesn't go far enough, and that they will continue to press their case against the board in an administrative court.Canada's Competition Bureau filed suit against TREB in May, claiming the board hasn't allowed brokers to provide consumers with access to detailed multiple listing service (MLS) data through password-protected VOWs like those operated by ZipRealty and Redfin in the U.S.The bureau said TREB's restrictions on VOW brokerages are anti-competitive, because VOWs often have lower operating costs and offer reduced commission rates or rebates to customers.TREB -- which is North America's largest real estate board, with 31,000 members -- published a proposed VOW policy in June, saying members would have 60 days to comment. TREB said it had begun developing the VOW policy independently the previous summer, "in response to...