The holder of a real estate agency licence can be a legal person or a natural person. In case of a legal person, its shareholder or administrator is not required to hold a real estate brokerage licence. However, the agency must be managed by a licensee who holds the designation “Certified AEO” and who will act as agency executive officer. A “Certified AEO” broker whose licence is subjected to conditions or restrictions by the Discipline Committee or the Licence Issue and Maintenance Committee (LIMC) cannot be appointed as agency executive officer while the conditions or restrictions on his licence are in effect.
The agency executive officer must ensure that all administrators, brokers and employees of the agency abide by the regulations and comply with the agency’s Compliance Program.
For support in his daily tasks, the AEO may designate one or more authorized signatories to sign the documents relating to the operations of the OACIQ Certification Department. In addition, the AEO may designate collaborators within the agency to help with the supervision and oversight of his brokers.
Several requirements must be met before applying for an agency licence.
In addition, due to new emerging business models and agency structures, a thorough analysis of each application must be made by the OACIQ to ensure regulatory compliance.
The validity period of a real estate agency licence is from May 1 to April 30. For the licence to remain valid, the agency executive officer must complete various steps by April 30 of each year, including paying the applicable fees and updating the agency’s information. In addition to the annual maintenance steps, the AEO must meet certain requirements, such as carrying out the agency’s annual self-inspection by filling out the questionnaire to this effect and providing the information required. Failing this, the agency’s licence could be suspended, revoked or made subject to conditions or restrictions (for example, a licence holder could be barred from acting as AEO for a given period).
Just as real estate brokers must comply with their regulatory obligations in order to maintain their licence (sub-section 6.3.1 of the section Steps to becoming a broker and obligation to maintain licence), agencies and their AEOs must fulfill the following obligations:
- Have an agency executive officer who has the required qualifications to act
A real estate agency must have an executive officer who holds the required qualifications to act in this capacity (section 34 of the Regulation respecting the issue of broker’s and agency licences). If a legal person real estate agency is not managed by a licence holder with this designation for more than 60 days, its licence will be suspended.
- Maintain an establishment in Québec
- Update the real estate agency’s information
By April 30 of each year at the latest, the AEO must update the information concerning his real estate agency as well as his personal information via the OACIQ Online Checkout.
- Pay the annual fees, including the contribution to the Real Estate Brokerage Indemnity Fund (FICI
By April 30 of each year at the latest, the AEO must pay his agency’s licence fees according to the renewal notice. An Online Checkout is available to do so during the licence renewal period.
The FICI contribution must be paid with the application for licence issuance, and annually thereafter.
- Maintain a professional liability insurance policy
All real estate brokers and agencies in Québec who hold a valid licence issued by the OACIQ have insurance coverage under the Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du courtage immobilier du Québec (FARCIQ). In accordance with the Real Estate Brokerage Act, annual enrollment in the FARCIQ insurance policy is mandatory for all licence holders during the licence renewal period.
- Complete a self-inspection and maintain a trust account
During the annual self-inspection period and no later than March 31 of each year, agencies must complete and submit their self-inspection questionnaire. In addition, since they are required to maintain a trust account, this is also the period during which they must submit their Trust Accounts Transaction Report, even if there has been no activity in the account during the year or if the balance remained at $0. If applicable, they must also submit the register of disclosure notices during this period.
- Complete the Mandatory Continuing Education Program and the mandatory training activities
Every two years, the AEO must fulfill the requirements of the current cycle of the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP) by obtaining a predetermined number of continuing education units (CEU). Because of his role, the number of CEUs required for an agency executive officer (or a Certified AEO broker) is higher than that of brokers.
If the agency or its executive officer fail to comply with the regulatory obligations outlined in section 7.2.1 and their licence is suspended or revoked, they must:
- cease all brokerage-related activities without delay;
- remove all advertising;
- notify in writing without delay the parties that have brokerage contracts in progress that the agency, the executive officer or the brokers acting on its behalf are no longer authorized to represent them.
Before being allowed to return to practice, the agency executive officer must:
If the agency’s licence is revoked:
- Complete and forward the form Application for issuance of a licence, including:
- the complementary forms and other documents required based on the situations, listed under section V – Declarations of the application form;
- payment of the fees applicable to the issuance of an agency licence;
- payment of the applicable fees to lift the licence suspension of each of the agency’s brokers;
- the form Request for lifting of licence suspension • Real estate broker • Real estate agency • Natural person (PDF), with the Declarations section completed by all brokers. This section is used to certify that notices concerning all contracts in progress were sent to clients. It also serves to confirm that the agency’s brokers and executive officer did not engage in brokerage transactions during the suspension period. If this is not the case, the Syndic will be informed and may take any measures deemed appropriate.
- Following analysis by the Certification Department, the AEO will be contacted by the Inspection Department. The AEO will be required to develop a written Compliance Program iif there is not already one in place within the agency, or to make adjustments to the existing one, and to make a commitment to respect it. In both cases, the program must meet the requirements of the OACIQ.
- To be able to practise real estate brokerage again, you must receive the confirmation from the Certification Department which will be sent to you a few weeks after the completion of the above steps. Verifications will also be conducted to validate the compliance of the agency’s file.
If the agency’s licence is suspended:
- Update the agency’s information;
- Complete the form Request for lifting of licence suspension and pay the applicable fees n addition to any other amount due to the OACIQ;
- Pay the applicable fees to lift the licence suspension of each of the agency’s brokers;
- Complete, and have all the agency’s brokers complete the Declarations section of the form Request for lifting of licence suspension • Real estate broker • Real estate agency • Natural person (PDF). This section is used to certify that notices concerning all contracts in progress were sent to clients. It also serves to confirm that the agency’s brokers and executive officer did not engage in brokerage transaction during the suspension period. If this is not the case, the Syndic will be informed and may take any measures deemed appropriate;
- Show that the cause for the licence suspension no longer exists;
- To be able to practise real estate brokerage again, you must receive the confirmation from the Certification Department which will arrive within 7 to 10 days following the receipt of a complete application.