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Investigations Real estate council imposes licence conditions on brokerage after Globe investigation

Ze Yu Wu leaves Richmond-based New Coast Realty April 4, 2016. Although he runs the company, Mr. Wu is not a real-estate agent or managing broker and is not bound by provincial laws governing individual licensees.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has imposed a list of conditions on New Coast Realty's brokerage licence, following a Globe investigation into the fast-growing Vancouver-area brokerage firm.

This comes after The Globe obtained an audio recording of New Coast owner Ze Yu Wu, instructing his firm's real estate sales teams how to talk clients in to selling their houses for less than the seller wants, to make a quick commission. Under the new conditions, Mr. Wu will no longer be allowed to conduct such training sessions.

Instead the firm has been ordered to appoint a managing broker – one that must be approved by the provincial regulator – to oversee training and supervision of the firm's 445 agents.

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In addition, New Coast must submit monthly reports for review by the Council of all transactions and activities by its employees, as well as any complaints received by the company. Anyone with account signing authority must be approved by the Council.

New Coast has also been ordered to hand over all records related to contract assignments (flipping the property quickly as soon as it's been sold, before the initial deal closes) and commission bonuses.

The Council said it will conduct quarterly audits of New Coast and "will take such further action as it considers necessary" should the brokerage be found to be in contravention of provincial legislation.

However, those home owners who are presently listed with New Coast have been told they have to stick with the controversial brokerage firm. "Those consumers have contractual obligations that they must meet," said the Council.

New Coast lawyer Simon Coval told the Globe Friday that the company maintains its position that Mr. Wu's meanings were taken out of context. He also said the company "met yesterday afternoon with members of Council and has been fully cooperative."

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