Realtors' Code of Ethics

CREA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice has been the measure of professionalism in organized real estate for over 40 years. The first code was approved in 1913 at the convention of the National Association of Real Estate Boards held in Winnipeg. The first Code of Ethics specifically prepared for members of The Canadian Real Estate Association was approved by members in 1959.

The Code establishes a standard of conduct, which in many respects exceeds basic legal requirements. This standard ensures that that the rights and interests of consumers of real estate services are protected. As a condition of membership, all REALTORS agree to abide by the Code.

Some of the requirements of the Code include:

1. REALTORS must disclose in writing whom they are representing as an agent in the transaction. Parties to a transaction must be told what their agency relationship is to the REALTOR. Definitions, terminology and presumed agency relationships vary from province to province. Most jurisdictions have their own forms for complying with disclosure requirements, which have been drafted to accommodate agency relationships as they exist in your province or territory.

2. All financial arrangements between REALTORS and others (e.g. referral fees, compensation from more than one party, rebates or profits on expenditures) must be fully disclosed to clients.

3. REALTORS cannot acquire an interest in property (either directly or indirectly) without disclosing the fact that they are real estate professionals.

4. REALTORS cannot use the terms of an agreement of purchase and sale to negotiate commission.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

A REALTOR's ethical obligations are based on moral integrity, competent service to clients and customers, and dedication to the interest and welfare of the public. The Code has been amended many times to reflect changes in the real estate marketplace, the needs of property owners and the perceptions and values of society. For more than forty years, through a variety of updates, the CREA Code of Ethics is unchanged in demanding high standards of professional conduct to protect the interests of clients and customers and safeguard the rights of consumers of real estate services.

The CREA Code of Ethics

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.

Through the REALTOR, the land resource of the nation reaches its highest use and private land ownership its widest distribution. The REALTOR is instrumental in moulding the form of his or her community and the living and working conditions of its people.

Such functions impose grave social responsibilities which REALTORS can meet only by diligent preparation, and considering it a civic duty to dedicate themselves to the fulfilment of a REALTOR's obligations to society.

The REALTOR therefore must be zealous to maintain, and continually strive to improve, the professional standards of his or her calling:

  • by keeping informed as to developments and trends in real estate.
  • by endeavouring to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practice in connection with real estate transactions.
  • by rendering services and opinions based only on the REALTOR's knowledge, training, qualifications and experience in real estate.
  • by seeking no unfair advantage over, nor injuring directly or indirectly, the reputation of, nor publicly disparaging the business practice of other REALTORS.
  • by being loyal to the REALTOR's Real Estate Board and Provincial/Territorial Association and active in their work.
In the interpretation of his or her obligations, the REALTOR can take no safer guide than that which has been embodied in the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

No inducement of profit and no instructions from clients or customers can ever justify departure from the ideals of fair dealing and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty standard of moral conduct in business relations.

Accepting this standard as his or her own, each REALTOR pledges to observe the spirit of the Code in all dealings and to conduct business in accordance with the Standards of Business Practice as adopted by The Canadian Real Estate Association.