A longtime North Vancouver real estate agency's licence has been suspended after investigators with the Real Estate Council of B.C. found clients' money unaccounted for in the company's books.
Century 21 City View Realty, which operates out of Lower Lonsdale, was forced to shutter its offices Wednesday when the provincial regulatory body issued an order saying it was no longer allowed to do business.
City View will remain closed and its bank accounts frozen until the council's auditors have finished combing through the agency's records.
Investigators have released only limited information, leaving it unclear exactly why they were conducting an audit at all or precisely what concerns that process raised.
"It was found that monies were not being properly accounted for," said Tyler Davis, a spokesman for the real estate council.
"Our job is to ensure that consumers are protected. . . . We felt it was prudent to suspend the licence."
City View also reportedly didn't have a managing broker to oversee public funds as required by law, he added.
While it's not clear how much money might be involved, Davis said so far just a handful of clients appear to be affected, including "one pending sale transaction and some rental management clients."
Although City View can't operate while the suspension is in place, the agents who work there retain their licences, meaning they can still practice elsewhere.
"This order is not about the conduct of the salespeople at the office," said Davis. "(Those agents) would presumably transfer to another brokerage."
City View's listings will also have to be moved to other businesses while the suspension is in effect, he said. How long that will be remains to be seen.
"It will be in effect until the council says otherwise," said Davis. The council won't make a decision in that regard until the investigation is complete, he said. "It just got underway."
The suspension is an unusual move for the organization, added Davis. The council yanks the licences of just a few individual real estate agents and even fewer agencies. Since 2005, it has pulled the plug on only four businesses in B.C., including this one.
City View clients who believe they may be affected by the suspension are asked to contact the Real Estate Council of B.C. at 604-683-9664 or 1-877-683-9664.
A call to the real estate agency was not returned by deadline.
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