The practice of using the same lawyer to represent the buyer as well as seller has been subjected to political scrutiny as the 2002 Real Estate Business Brokers Act which contains the law and code of ethics governing the conduct of real estate lawyers has been brought under review. The Real Estate Council of Ontario had been observing the issue according to registrar Joseph Richer, but it's taking practical steps in promoting consumer security when it comes to the buying and selling of real estate by calling for tougher fines for realtors breaching the rules and industry standards for real estate transactions where the same agent works for the buyer and the seller.
Superficially, the practice seems nonsensical and can be compared to hiring the same divorce attorney as that of your soon-to-be ex-wife. Alexander is one of the real estate representatives supporting greater consumer protection in real estate transactions and tougher fines for the lawyers breaking rules with "double ending". Some believe people resort to using the same real estate agent due to the lack of lawyers available. Brad Henderson, CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada reckons that about 10% of transactions are multiple representation deals and that number is much lower in Toronto area where 48,000 of Ontario's 70,000 lawyers work.
The provincial review is considering both sides of the argument. Real estate representatives claim that only a small fraction of the real estate transactions were double ended. However, the Toronto Real Estate Board admits that they don't keep track of any realtor or brokerage level activity. The Real Estate Council of Ontario had already received 30 related real estate transaction complaints last year and 37 new ones so far this year. To prevent unethical real estate representation, it is important for the consumer to be educated on how they're being represented.