The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) protects consumers in the public interest by promoting a safe and informed marketplace and administering the rules that real estate salespeople, brokers and brokerages must follow.

We work to fulfill this goal through the day-to-day regulation of Ontario’s more than 100,000 real estate registrants.

The Ontario government establishes the rules that real estate salespersons, brokers and brokerages must follow – set out in the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002 (TRESA) and its associated regulations. RECO administers these on behalf of the government.

RECO was established in 1997 as a delegated administrative authority (DAA) to enhance professionalism in the real estate industry, increase consumer protection and provide an effective and responsive regulatory framework.

RECO’s role

Industry oversight as a regulator

At RECO, we are keenly aware that the purchase or sale of a home may well be the largest and most significant financial decision most Ontarians will ever make. That’s why it is so important that the real estate services sector has an effective oversight system in place to govern these important transactions. 

As the provincial regulator, we protect the public interest, enhance consumer confidence in the real estate profession, and maintain professional standards. We take our responsibility for compliance and consumer protection seriously.  

We are proud of the work we do to protect consumers and the public interest. The real estate agents, brokers, and brokerages that are regulated by RECO are sometimes referred to as registrants. There are more than 105,000 of them in Ontario. 

RECO promotes compliance in a variety of ways. For example: 

  • We enforce the standards required for registration for brokerages and agents.  
  • RECO’s Registrar establishes educational requirements for agents to both get and keep their registration.  
  • We conduct inspections of brokerages and support compliance through education.  
  • We investigate complaints about brokerages and agents and those who may be trading illegally.  
  • We arrange for and administer insurance on behalf of registrants, with a particular focus on the protection of consumer deposits.  

Each of these measures is important to support compliance with the rules.  

Outside of RECO’s mandate

RECO does not…

  • Have the authority to resolve monetary or contractual disputes or to assess or award damages.
  • Have authority over buyers and sellers, or over the valuations of properties.
  • Collect, maintain or distribute sales figures or market data. Sales figures are maintained by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
  • Regulate the sale of new homes. The regulation and licensing of new home builders and vendors in Ontario are the responsibility of the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HRCA), and Tarion is accountable for all issues related to homeowner warranty protection.

Information for the public

RECO also provides important information to the public and to educate consumers about the home buying and selling experience and the value of a regulated real estate sector. Our website has a wealth of information for consumers, including:

  • The RECO Information Guide: As of December 1, 2023, this document must be given to a self-represented party or prospective client before any services or assistance are provided.
  • Inquiries: We receive thousands of inquiries every month in the form of calls and emails, which we respond to or triage, as appropriate, to other departments, such as registration, complaints, and education.
  • Real Estate Professional Search: Our search feature allows consumers to confirm whether they are dealing with someone who is legally registered to trade in real estate in Ontario, and whether that person has been the subject of a charge or conviction.
  • Complaints: Consumers can submit a complaint if they have concerns about a registered real estate professional or someone holding themselves out as such.
  • Social media: RECO maintains an active presence on social media to reach consumers and real estate professionals. XFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn
  • Consumer education campaigns: Each year, RECO engages Ontario’s home buyers and sellers through educational campaigns that include, advertisements, articles and online resources.

Complaints and enforcement outcomes

Real estate professionals in Ontario must comply with the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002, including a Code of Ethics. If they breach these rules, there are various discipline paths and outcomes, depending on the severity of the offence.

RECO reports on its complaints and enforcement outcomes each year in its annual report.


In 2022, RECO opened 2,106 complaints, 17 per cent fewer than in 2021, and closed 9 per cent fewer than in 2021. 73% of complaints came from consumers, 24% came from registered real estate professionals, and 3% came from others (internal, anonymous, police, financial institution, others, or registrar).

When a complaint is filed, RECO will make inquiries and conduct an investigation as required. There are a number of potential outcomes to the complaint process:

  • In about 47% of cases, the Registrar will determine the appropriate action, which may include mediation, a written warning or an educational course.
  • In about 5% of cases, if RECO’s Registrar believes a real estate professional will not carry out business with honesty, integrity or in accordance with the law, they have the authority to refuse registration or registration renewal, revoke or suspend registration, or apply conditions to a registration to ensure the public interest is protected.
  • In about 48% of cases, complaints are closed with no action because there was not enough evidence to support the complaint or the complaint falls outside of RECO’s authority.


RECO investigates alleged violations of the law (TRESA). In 2022, RECO opened 109 investigations and closed 73. There were $15,000 in total fines issued.


RECO conducted a total of 777 inspections in 2022 to ensure brokerages are following the rules and regulations.