The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has launched a campaign against Canada's Competition Bureau against its plan to release more personal information online. This information would include the names and addresses of home sellers, and TREB says it is an invasion of privacy that could result in more cases of fraud.
The Canadian Competition Bureau is demanding this extra information for online listings as it believes it would even out the competition between online real estate agents websites. According to the article in CTV Toronto.ca Federal Competition Commissioner, Melanie Aitkin, fought a successful battle in 2010 to give private home seller’s access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the main service for buying and selling homes in Canada.
The real estate agents industry’s main site is Realtor.ca, and this allows people to browse the homes online, but at the moment certain information is restricted, and a Realtor has to be granted access. According to the Competition Bureau, this is an unfair to independent real estate agency sites, and the information should be publicly available to everyone.
It's expected the case will be decided by a competition tribunal in the fall. If the tribunal finds in favor of the Competition Bureau, then everyone will be able to see the name and address of real estate sellers online. They'd also be able to see negotiated sales prices and details of mortgages taken out by the buyers. TREB is concerned this information could increase the number of cases of fraud in the Toronto area, and claims that most Ontarians do not want details of their home purchases made public.