In addition to the information provided below, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has produced additional resources for industry members about its complaint process, including a Guide to Complaints: Industry Professionals and Guide to Complaints Related to Unauthorized Practice.
RECA is responsible for setting standards of practice for the real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal industries. This role serves both the industry and the public: in order to create consumer confidence and trust in the industry it is essential to limit unethical and illegal practices.
RECA deals with complaints from consumers, industry members, industry associations, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, and other regulatory bodies. The executive director of RECA also has the authority to order an investigation if information comes forth from sources other than a formal written complaint. In particular, information regarding issues of serious threat to the public interest could result in an investigation.
Making a complaint to RECA does not prevent a complainant from taking legal action against an industry member or other party. RECA cannot obtain financial compensation for a complainant and RECA’s disciplinary decisions are not recognized by the Courts as proof of the facts alleged in a statement of claim.
For more detailed information, please review the investigations information and guides, as well as the Real Estate Act.
Making a Complaint
If you telephone RECA with a complaint, the first person you will likely speak to is one of RECA’s information officers. Information officers cannot offer specific advice, but will make recommendations to a caller. Depending on the circumstances, these recommendations may include:
- attempting to resolve the complaint by discussing it with the associate and the broker
- seeking the advice of a lawyer or other professionals
- making a written complaint to RECA that states the concerns and requests an investigation
Note that RECA will only examine complaints that fall under its jurisdiction (through the Real Estate Act and Real Estate Act Rules), and RECA does not investigate matters that relate to the conduct of the buyer, conduct of the seller or issues associated with the condition of a property.
If you wish to file a written complaint with RECA against an authorized industry professional, please download and print a Complaint Form. If you wish to make a complaint about an individual or brokerage that is not authorized but is carrying out activities for which an authorization is required, please download and print the appropriate Complaint Form for Unauthorized Practice: Real Estate Brokerage, Mortgage Brokerage and Real Estate Appraisal.
Generally, if a complainant is reluctant to make a written complaint or is unwilling to cooperate fully with an investigation, RECA will carefully reconsider the validity of the complaint before deciding whether to proceed with an investigation. Anonymous complaints, written or otherwise, are investigated only if a serious matter is indicated and reliable information is provided.
Notification to Industry Members
Industry members who are the subject of a complaint will be notified that a complaint has been filed against them. At the complaint stage, the industry member will be advised of the general nature of the complaint and the complainant’s name.
Determining Whether to Commence an Investigation
RECA reviews complaints to determine whether the case falls within RECA’s jurisdiction, if there is sufficient evidence to suggest the possibility of conduct deserving of sanction and if it meets all other complaint criteria.
If the complaint is within RECA’s jurisdiction, a formal investigation is commenced and the process to gather all relevant information begins. For information on the professional conduct review process, please see Professional Conduct Reviews.
If the complaint does not meet the professional conduct review criteria, alternative resolutions may be suggested to the complainant. The complainant will also be provided with information on their appeal rights. For information on a complainant’s right to appeal, please see Appealing the Executive Director’s Decision Not to Investigate a Complaint.
Status Update Requests
RECA’s complaint review process takes time and RECA staff are not able to provide updates and/or progress reports to complainants.
If you wish to file a written complaint with RECA, please download and print a Complaint Form.