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Lessons learned after ethics accusations from an ex-husband

A real estate agent contacted our office seeking legal advice on how to handle a complaint against her to the Real Estate Council of Ontario. The following is how our office handled the complaint and proved her innocence.

She explained she had been married but eventually got a divorce. However, she and her ex-husband continued to have a business relationship. Everything seemed to be going okay until 2020.

Then the ex-husband decided to file a complaint with RECO against his ex-wife, listing many accusations about her work and professional ethics and of committing fraud. The complaint against her was more than 50 pages long, with documents and the complainant’s notes and remarks.

Our office had to address each complaint one by one and respond to each with proof of our client’s innocence. She had many documents and communications to prove that she didn’t breach any of RECO’s rules.

In these documents and communications, she was very detailed when informing her client about the process and what he needed to do in order to proceed with the transactions between them. She also gave clear instructions in emails to him about where to sign and initial documents related to real estate purchases and sales. She never once advised him to do something against his will or for her benefit. She also maintained her image as a professional agent. In none of those documents did she fail to meet the standards or ethics that RECO sets out for agents.

Our client didn’t commit any type of fraud. She has proven that without any doubt and is able to maintain her integrity and professionalism after this ordeal. After RECO reviewed all the documents, they determined that the allegations against our client did not reasonably establish a substantive breach of the Code of Ethics or any other relevant statute under their jurisdiction. And to our client’s satisfaction, no further action will be taken. The matter was closed.

The takeaway for all agents: keep your personal and professional lives separate and make absolutely sure you never breach the Code of Ethics that would result in a complaint against you from RECO.

You can contact me at any time for any legal questions you may have regarding this article, or any other real estate legal matters. The good news? It won’t cost you anything.

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