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Buying or Selling a Home? New Law Requires Canadian Realtors to Ask for ID. Q & A's

 Realtor Graphic shaking hands

Next time you meet up with a real estate salesperson don't be surprised if after the introduction, the Big Question of "may I see your identification please" pops up.

Realtors are not exactly thrilled with the imposed new Law by the Federal Government to request personal information to confirm a buyer or sellers identity.  While common sense has guided us in the past, we are now required by law to document proof we personally viewed some type of photo ID from both our buyers and sellers.   This could mean a passport or drivers license, but not your health card for some reason.

Yes, we are required to fill out a form confirming we've reviewed the id, even if it's for our mothers or brothers and sisters.    Another government form to add to the mountain of paperwork we are already required to fill out for each and every transaction.

  • Who says we have to do this?   Well, the Federal Finance Department, in an effort to help FINTRAC (Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) another Federal agency set up to detect signs of money laundering or terrorism.  
  • What if you don't want to provide ID.   The Realtor will be required to walk away from the transaction or face stiff penalties and report suspicious individuals to FINTRAC. 

Over the last 5 months in preparation for this new ruling, I have watched the rules change along with the forms.    I am expecting more changes soon.   The originConsumer Information Brochure of Frequently Asked Questions about Fintrac ID Rulesal paperwork was a bit over done and hopefully we will have a simpler version shortly.   So please be patient with your Realtor, all these forms are new to us too and they keep changing.

  • Who should you be suspicious of?   Read the papers, verify the requirements yourself on the FINTRAC website, Hank Daniszewski of the Toronto Sun wrote a great article outlining the requirements.   Now if your Realtor isn't asking you for ID, perhaps you should be suspicious as to why, when it's now law.  Click here for a Full Detailed brochure on What You Need to Know.

So don't be insulted if a Realtor requests to look at your drivers license (we don't have to photocopy it - just look at it and fill out a form with the basic information)  Please don't give me your sin number ... that's just too much personal information.   We just need the basics, name, address, date of birth, occupation plus to view your driver's license or passport.    That's the bare minimum they have requested - so that's all they're getting.

  • Where does this document go?   For now these forms will be securely hidden away until we get picked for a random audit by the Government.   Unless of course the consumer is acting suspicious, and then a report is required by the Realtor to be submitted to FINTRAC.   But that's nothing new.    So avoid CASH especially over $10,000, which is considered suspicious, don't try and buy a house over the phone without looking at it first, and don't send your brother in law to act as your go between and try and wire large sums of money to us - as this might be considered a little suspicious - hummm.

Sorry folks, don't hate your realtor.   We don't like this situation anymore than you do.   Someone upstairs must think this is important so we need to believe, by doing our part, we're contributing to the overall safety of our country.






Toronto real estate agent said:

I think that these new laws will take a few moments to adjust in people's heads. But after they get used to it there shouldn't be any problems. It is simply a way of enforcing the fight against criminals. Realtor clients must understand that their personal information will be only processed by the authorities and not misused by anyone else.

# July 6, 2008 12:22 PM
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