Legislation > Box 60 – Row 1 > Property Law Act – Establishing a cooling off period

The amendments to the Property Law Act will establish the framework for a cooling off period for residential real estate. This legislation is about consumer protection. The creation of a cooling off period will ensure that purchasers have time the peace of mind that they have made the right choices.

Real estate prices remain elevated and housing supply is limited in B.C. These market conditions contribute to situations where consumers are left without enough time to secure favourable financing, obtain a home inspection, or have the time to gather more information about the property and neighbourhood they are considering. A cooling off period is a legislated time-period during which a buyer can walk away from an accepted offer with no, or diminished, legal or financial consequences.

Amendments to the Property Law Act aim to enhance consumer protection in the real estate market in response to concerns that have been raised in expert reports and by stakeholders, academics, and members of the public. These concerns focus on pressures people face in the current market and situations in which buyers make offers substantially higher than listing prices, possibly above their ability to manage the debt, and without including standard conditions designed to protect their interests. BC would be the first province to implement a right of rescission residential property.

The BC Financial Services Authority is consulting broadly on what regulations we need to give people some breathing room. No decisions have been made regarding penalties/fines for rescinding an offer to purchase. BCFSA is expected to deliver the consultation results this spring.

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