This is an issue I see far to often in day to day business in Calgary. A few months ago I ran into an issue regarding the above situation. At that time I said to the other Realtor that was involved “that unless you have something outlined in writing by the seller or the seller’s lawyer, you have absolutely no authority to release keys to the other Realtor in trust when you have no idea to whom you are releasing.” The sellers lawyer will argue that they would not release keys in trust when they don’t know the buyer, so why would you.The only time you should even consider the above is when the seller or their solicitor grants permission. The liability a Realtor is facing is extreme. If you believe you have the authority to do so, you are mistaken and don’t do it just because you know the Realtor on the seller’s side of the transaction – that means absolutely nothing in this process. Don’t do it just because that’s the way you always did it either.
There is also no escuse when Realtors are going on holidays or are busy and for certain if a Realtor asks you for the keys in advance, you know full well that they are going to give the keys to their clients because they will not be around on the possession date. Their promise not to release the keys does little for you when your seller finds out that the buyer has keys they shouldn’t have in their possession. It’s you, not the other Realtor, who is liable for a breach of trust because it’s you who breached your client’s trust.
Simple solution: somewhere on the property, leave the keys in a lock-box that has a code and when you are given the release notice from the sellers lawyer, tell the other Realtor what the code is and it’s done. No running around required.
Don’t take this notice casually because we have all have been advised by our brokers, CREB, & RECA and we will be in a lot of trouble if we ignored this advise and a problem arises. Nothing good comes out of ignoring this policy. We earned a good deal of money on a transaction – and we have a duty of care in releasing keys.
Please note that this advise is regulated in Alberta, but may be different in other provinces.
Nevin Van Nest . Realtor . Royal LePage Foothills
Find Out More About The Calgary Real Estate Market On My Website: Calgary Real Estate Resource Centre