At a glance (2 minute read)

  • The BC government is laying the groundwork to institute a cooling off period for homebuyers that will allow them to back out of a purchase after signing a Contract of Purchase and Sale.
  • The cooling off period, called "Home Buyer Protection Period", will be in place by summer.
  • More details on how this will work will be coming soon.

The BC government introduced legislation on March 28, 2022, known as Bill 12 - 2022, to allow for the creation of a cooling off period that will allow buyers to back out of a purchase after signing a Contract of Purchase and Sale.

 In the official announcement, Minister of Finance Selina Robinson said the government will put the regulation in place for the “Home Buyer Protection Period” by summer. 

The plan so far

Robinson provided few details on the new period, saying that the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) will release a report with recommendations in the coming weeks. 

The report will inform the development of the regulations, and will include details on: 

  • The length of the period, 
  • Financial penalties for buyers who rescind an offer, and 
  • Regional variations in the legislation to address the differences between local housing markets.

During the media Q&A period after her announcement, the Minister implied the regional variation provision could be used to provide flexibility if the market changes.

The REALTOR® response

A cooling off period could have unintended consequences. Buyers may make bad faith offers that could tie up sellers, causing undue hardship and potentially preventing sellers from purchasing their next home. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), along with the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA), has  recommended a pre-offer period where offers can’t be presented to a seller on new listings until the listings have been posted for five business days. 

 “It would be easier for everyone to get in, do their due diligence, and then just take the offers after,” said Daniel John, REBGV Chair in an interview with CityNews

Related article

BCREA, with support of BC’s real estate boards, published a white paper on February 28 that contains 30 policy recommendations for the provincial government, including the pre-offer period recommendation.