TREB Says Online Sales Data Compromises Homeowners’ Privacy

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has made an appeal to allow its members to upload more data online for everyone to see.

The real estate board, which currently has more than 45,000 active realtors, is debunking the ruling handed down by Canada’s Competition Tribunal which has failed to give rights to consumers in the Greater Toronto Area, and may compromise their privacy.

The real estate board believes that if the ruling stands, Greater Toronto homeowners are more likely to have less privacy than other areas.

Toronto Real Estate Board CEO John DiMichele said the ruling “opens the door to misuse and abuse of their sensitive personal financial information.”

“The consumer should be the one to determine, with clear understanding, when and where their personal financial information is disclosed,” he added.

It was in April that the Competition Bureau of Canada welcomed the ruling after several years of urging for change. The bureau claims that the TREB has restricted their access to data on its proprietary Multiple Listing Service, on which more than 90% of all Canadian home sales get processed.

Last month, the bureau urged TREB to give its members the permission to offer searchable databases, commonly known as “virtual office websites.” These databases allow its users to access important files, including the sales price, listings and broker permissions.

These rulings may bring about problems, warns TREB

Quite a number of real estate agents support this idea, and some have already planned to share more information on their websites.

However, the real estate board believes that sharing this information without consulting their clients will violate Canada’s Digital Privacy Act and possibly the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. “To ignore any of these laws is wrong,” said TREB in a press conference.

They also rejected the idea that is “lessened competition” in the real estate market, pointing out that the allegations aren’t necessarily true.

The Toronto Real Estate Board filed an appeal with the federal court on Friday.


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