TREB warns realtors on false sales data after $3.1M listing shows $1 price
A real estate agent puts up a 'sold' sign in front of a house in Toronto on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. (Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:13PM EDT
Realtors must report accurate sales prices for properties they've listed now that the public can access that data, the Toronto Real Estate Board is warning its members.
"We have received reports that some members have been reporting inaccurate figures in the sold prices of their listings due to privacy concerns raised by their customers," TREB wrote in a letter sent to its members.
The Canadian Press obtained a $3.1-million dollar listing in Scarborough that appeared to be reported as selling for $1.
The listing now has an updated sold price tag of $2.98 million, according to Mongohouse, a website that includes sold prices.
Publishing false prices is contrary to TREB's rules and policies, and could lead to disciplinary proceedings, the board said in the letter, as well as possible membership suspension or termination.
TREB chief executive John DiMichele said in a statement that the board regularly updates and advises its members on rules and best practices, and reiterated that inaccurate reporting runs counter to those rules.
The real estate board has been embroiled in a seven-year legal battle to prevent the release of home sales data online, citing privacy and copyright concerns.
It lost that fight when the Competition Bureau ruled the board must permit its members to publish such data on password-protected websites, and after the Supreme Court of Canada recently refused to hear the case.
However, the board has since said it is studying ways to ensure that GTA home sales data is protected.
It has also disputed when the 60-day window to prepare to release the data comes into effect. TREB says the window started in late August with the Supreme Court's decision, but the Competition Bureau said the window closed a long time ago.
Still, the board has threatened real estate companies that it believes have released home sales data too soon. It recently sent cease-and-desist letters to such companies, threatening to take away their data access and TREB memberships.