TREB wins extension in home sales data fight
TORONTO — A Federal Court judge has decided the Toronto Real Estate Board doesn’t have to comply with a Competition Tribunal ruling that would allow its realtor members to post home-sales data online — for now.
Judge Mary J.L. Gleason made the order on Wednesday, days before TREB’s Aug. 3 deadline to make sales figures, pending sales and broker commissions more widely available.
Several realtors have said the data release would enable consumers to be better informed and make better choices when buying or selling a home.
Gleason said TREB shouldn’t have to change its practices until the court can hear its pending motion for a longer-term stay, one that would remain in effect until a ruling on the board’s appeal of the Competition Tribunal’s ruling.
TREB CEO John DiMichele said in a statement that this temporary stay provides it with breathing room until its motion can be heard.
It’s unclear when Gleason will make a decision on the longer-term stay. She said next week’s compliance deadline would lapse before the court could consider the motion.
On June 3, the Competition Tribunal ruled TREB must loosen its restrictions on making home-sales data available online. The tribunal gave the board 60 days to comply with the ruling.
The tribunal had determined in an April decision that TREB stifled competition and digital innovation by preventing its realtor members from posting this information on their websites.
In July, TREB appealed the tribunal’s decision and asked for a stay, arguing the ruling violates the privacy of homebuyers and sellers.
The case has been ongoing since 2011, when the competition commissioner filed an application with the tribunal challenging restrictions that TREB imposed on its members.
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Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly attributed a comment by John DiMichele to Mary Gallagher.
By Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press