Step 1: Discussion with the broker or the agency
If you experience a problem during the transaction, it is best to discuss it quickly with the real estate broker. You can also contact his agency executive officer. The latter is responsible for ensuring that the agency brokers respect their duties and obligations. If the problem persists or if you wish to make a professional liability claim, follow the steps below.
Step 2: Send a written notice to the broker, agency or FARCIQ
As a client, if you believe that a real estate broker has committed a fault, error or omission that could incur his professional liability and wish to file a formal claim to obtain monetary compensation, you must do so in writing. You may send your request to the broker or to the agency. This notice should also be sent to FARCIQ at email@example.com. It is also possible to use the Claim form provided for this purpose.
What are the criteria to be met for the broker’s professional liability to be incurred?
To determine whether one’s professional liability is at stake, all those criteria must be met, namely:
- FAULT: an unintentional fault, error or omission was committed by a broker or agency in the performance of their professional activities;
- DAMAGE: A definite and quantifiable financial loss was sustained;
- CAUSAL LINK: the financial loss was caused by the real estate broker’s or agency’s error, fault, or omission.
As a claimant, you must prove these three elements.
However, there are defences that may influence the professional liability assessment. FARCIQ will take this into account when analyzing the claim and this may influence the decision made on behalf of the insured (i.e., the real estate broker or agency).
Information and documents to be provided:
Your claim should be complete. It is important to ensure that you provide the following information, whether your claim is made in writing or through the form:
- Your complete contact information (name, address, phone, email, etc.);
- The name of the broker or agency concerned by the claim;
- The address of the immovable concerned by the transaction;
- A description of the alleged fault and the reasons for your claim;
- A description of the damage sustained, a breakdown of the amounts claimed, and the evidence related to this damage.
Include all documents deemed relevant to support your claim (e.g., brokerage contract, listing sheet, invoices, etc.).
Step 3: FARCIQ’s investigation and analysis
Upon receipt of the written notice (or the claim form and relevant documents), FARCIQ can examine the admissibility and merits of the claim. The claims department will then investigate and analyze the case together with the real estate broker.
This analysis will take into account, among other things, the evidence supporting the claim, the real estate broker’s defences as an insured and the terms of the applicable insurance policy.
Step 4: Decision
When the investigation and analysis have been completed, FARCIQ will contact you or your representative to inform you of its decision. This decision is made by FARCIQ, as the insurer, together with its insured, i.e., the real estate broker.
If you are not satisfied with the decision made by FARCIQ, you may take legal action against the licensees concerned by your claim.
FARCIQ provides professional liability insurance for all OACIQ licence holders in accordance with the terms of the applicable insurance policy. As such, FARCIQ is the insurer of real estate agencies and brokers in Quebec, who are the insureds.
In the event of a claim, it is important to understand that FARCIQ cannot act as legal counsel for the claimant because of its status as insurer for OACIQ licensees. For this reason, FARCIQ recommends that you seek the assistance of a legal counsel of your choice who can properly inform you of the extent of your rights and obligations.
In addition, professional liability and ethics are quite distinct. Therefore, violating ethical rules established by the OACIQ does not necessarily result in monetary compensation.
It is also important to know that submitting your request to FARCIQ or OACIQ by way of a request for assistance does not have the effect of interrupting the legal period within which you are required to institute legal proceedings. This period is usually three years. Failure to respect the deadline may result in the loss of your right to sue.
If you wish to report an ethical offence or make a compensation claim because you believe you are a victim of fraud, fraudulent tactics or misappropriation of funds in a real estate transaction with a broker, we encourage you to visit the OACIQ website for additional information on the the Real Estate Indemnity Fund (FICI).