Grow-op Information on Matrix
Consultation with legal counsel has determined that disclosing/storing grow-op information on the WinnipegREALTORS ® MLS ® System exposes WinnipegREALTORS ®to potential defamation and privacy risks.
In order to lower this risk, the Board of Directors, at their February 1, 2018 meeting, carried a motion “that WinnipegREALTORS ® remove any reference to grow-ops from all listings on the MLS ® system once the listing is no longer active or pending.”
What does this mean for you?
If your listing was a grow-op and you would like to disclose this on the MLS ® system, you are still able to do so – but only in the Realtor remarks field. Once a listing is no longer active or pending, WinnipegREALTORS ® staff will remove all references to grow-ops from the remarks. This will be completed once per week.
It is important that you maintain your own personal records regarding any grow-op disclosures that have been made (eg. print off the listing with the grow-op disclosure information before it is no longer active/pending) on any listings you have listed and/or sold. Backups may take the form of print-offs or scans that you keep with your property listing information.
What about my old listings that have already expired, sold etc.?
WinnipegREALTORS ® staff will begin removing grow-op information from listings that are no longer active/pending on June 1, 2018. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged, prior to June 1, to ensure that you have maintained your own personal records with regards to any grow-op disclosures that have been made on any listings you have listed and/or sold.
What about the public remarks?
The new MLS ® policy is that grow-op information can only be disclosed in the Realtor remarks on Matrix. No grow-op information will be allowed in the public remarks, including information for use on the association websites, association publications such as the Winnipeg Real Estate News and on CREA websites such as REALTOR.ca. Association staff will remove all grow-op related information from public remarks immediately and notify the member.
Do I need my seller’s permission to disclose that their property was a grow-op in the Realtor remarks?
Yes, the new MLS ® policy states that by disclosing grow-op information in the Realtor remarks, the listing brokerage/agent warrant they have the seller’s permission to do so.
If the grow-op information is removed from the MLS ® system, how am I supposed to determine whether or not a listing was a grow-op?
With regards to Realtors ascertaining whether or not a listing has been a grow-op, the courts would examine, “What is the duty of a reasonable agent?” The Realtor can utilize both the Winnipeg Police Service website and also ask specific questions of the seller to meet the standard of a reasonable agent reducing or eliminating their liability.
All members are directed to the Winnipeg Police Service website for more information regarding former grow-op properties: http://www.winnipeg.ca/police/drug_awareness/publicnotices.stm
Any questions regarding this notice can be directed to Crystal Hollas, Senior Vice President at firstname.lastname@example.org