REALTORS® are subject to the British Columbia Personal
Information Protection Act ("PIPA"). While the Board does
not directly enforce PIPA, you should be aware that breaches of
PIPA could result in a complaint (for example, by a member of the
public) to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
for B.C. ("OI PC") and could result in an Order being
made (and publicized) against you and/or the your brokerage.
You need to be aware of PIPA considerations when deciding what
information to post on their public websites.
For example, some REALTORS® have posted strata corporation
minutes on their website which include personal information about
individuals living in the strata complex. Similarly, some
REALTORS® have posted on their public website rent roll
information regarding a residential building for sale from which an
identifiable tenant's rent payment could be derived.
While you may have the building owner's permission to make
the rent roll information public, this does not address
tenants' rights under PIPA if some of the information being
published is about identifiable tenants (i.e. their monthly rental
payment). It must be remembered that "personal
information" is broadly defined in PIPA as "information
about an identifiable individual".
REALTORS® are sometimes concerned that they are obliged to
publicly disclose certain information in light of disclosure
requirements set out in the Real Estate Development Marketing
Act ("REDMA") and related Regulations. While REDMA
(and any other applicable legislation) must be complied with, this
legislation does not require publication on a public website
(rather, it requires that the seller provide a copy of a disclosure
statement to a prospective purchaser).
The challenge for REALTORS® is to find an efficient and
effective way of fulfilling their obligations and carrying out
effective marketing while still complying with PIPA.
One option for consideration is to set up a private portal on
your website which can only be accessed by persons who have been
authorized to do so and who have been given a password (these
mechanisms are sometimes referred to as "electronic data
rooms"). Another option to consider is posting information on
your website in a de-identified manner (for example, instead of
listing rent payments by suite number, make more generic statements
such as: "the building contains 20 units renting at $1,200 per
month, 10 units renting at $1,500 per month", etc.).
Members who have questions regarding the effect of PIPA on their
specific marketing practices should contact their own privacy
counsel to ensure they are compliant.
Originally published in RealtorLink, October 18,
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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