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Real estate group plans to separate

Real estate group plans to separate


A provincial body representing Quebec's real estate boards says it will separate from its Canadian affiliate, effective 2013 - and there doesn't appear to be any plan for negotiations.

On Thursday, the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards told brokers it would be ending its membership with the Canadian Real Estate Association as of Dec. 31.

The decision to leave CREA, Canada's largest group representing organized real estate, follows a revolt initiated last year by several member boards in Quebec that said they were fed up with paying for services they don't need. At the time, the Greater Montreal Real Estate board, the second-largest board in Canada with 10,000 members, said it would consider leaving CREA if the association didn't cut expenses, and embrace the very same "fee-for-service" model now available to Canadian homeowners.

In an email to brokers, the Quebec federation said Thursday it could no longer respect the national association's bylaws after one of its members, a small real estate board from Granby, decided to opt out of CREA. To maintain its provincial membership in CREA, all members of the Quebec federation would have to be part of the national association, which was no longer the case.

"After taking into consideration all of the relevant issues in this case, the governors of the QFREB have decided to maintain a provincial association that includes all the province's real estate boards," the federation said in the email, obtained by The Gazette.

Each member board, including Greater Montreal, will have to choose on an individual basis whether to stay or leave CREA.

Representatives of CREA and the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards couldn't be reached for comment on Thursday. Neither could a representative of the Montreal board.

CREA, which was embroiled in a highly publicized fight and settlement with the Federal Competition Bureau in 2010, angered the Montreal board last year for hiking member fees.

According to the Montreal board, CREA's national membership dues are to rise 41 per cent from 2010 to 2013, from $220 to $310.

CREA dues are used to defray the costs of services such as government relations, publicity, meetings and technological tool, including the realtor.ca website.

The average Montreal-area broker will pay more than $2,000 this year to his or her industry associations, including CREA - a burden that's becoming harder to bear as members see their commissions watered down by competition from For Sale By Owner sites and discount agencies where brokers are willing to be paid less for offering limited real estate services.

alampert@ montrealgazette.com Twitter: @RealDealMtl