Can I cancel a listing contract, a buyer agency or an exclusive?
Contracts can only be cancelled with the mutual consent of the parties
In BC, REALTORS® use standard form real estate contracts. The wording and terms of these contracts have been prepared by BC lawyers and have been tested in Canadian courts. Multiple Listing, Buyer Agency and Exclusive Listing contracts are made between the real estate brokerage (often referred to as “the brokerage”) and the client (the seller or buyer.)
Realtors work within a legal relationship called designated agency. This relationship exists between you, the principal, and your Realtor. (The brokerage for which your Realtor works is the contracting party, but is not your agent.) The essence of the agency relationship is that the Realtor has the authority to represent you in dealings with others.
Note that while the Realtor may be your designated agent, the managing broker is the representative of the brokerage and is therefore responsible for the actions of their Realtors.
(*It’s also possible for a Realtor to assist you as an “unrepresented party.” A Realtor who represents you in this way is not your agent and has no fiduciary duties to you.)
In an agency relationship, a Realtor can, for example:
- Explain real estate terms, practices and forms;
- Assist in screening or viewing properties;
- Prepare and present all offers and counter-offers at your direction;
- Inform you of lenders and their policies;
- Identify and estimate costs involved in a transaction.
Cancelling a contract
Listing and buyer agency contracts are legal agreements between the brokerage and the seller or buyer.
While your Realtor may be your designated agent, they aren't a party to a standard form listing or buyer agency contract. Only the parties to a contract can amend it and then, only if they both agree to do so.
Standard form listing and buyer agency contracts doesn't contain any provision for an early cancellation. As noted, to cancel or otherwise amend a listing or buyer agency contract the seller/buyer and brokerage must both agree.
Be sure to:
- Discuss your concerns directly with your Realtor and ask for a resolution of the issues that are bothering you. Keep written notes and make your instructions in writing.
- If your concerns are not addressed, contact your Realtor’s managing broker to ask for assistance. Make meeting requests in writing and advise the managing broker why you want to see them in advance.
- If your concerns are not resolved, contact your lawyer to discuss your options.
- The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) can’t unilaterally cancel your listing or buyer agency contract. It can assist you with problems or disputes by contacting your Realtor’s managing broker to make them aware of your concerns.s by contacting your Realtor’s managing broker to make them aware of your concerns.
REALTOR® Code of Ethics
It is a breach of the Code to:
- suggest to a potential client that another Realtor’s listing or buyer agency contract should be cancelled early, or to suggest that another member’s contract should be unconditionally released; or
- make direct contact with other Realtor’s client(s) if they do not have advance permission from their colleagues; and
- publicly discredit another Realtor or brokerage.