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Realtors association wants upgrades to B.C. public's access to property documents

Digitizing records, online tracking among proposals
Several recommendations from a new report involve digitizing information that is currently available only in paper form.

Association of Interior Realtors has made seven recommendations to the provincial government to enhance the public’s access to real estate information.

AIR released its report, called Breaking Down Barriers: Pathways to Modernizing Municipal Property Information, at last week’s Southern Interior Local Government Association Conference in Kamloops. The report conducted a study of 13 municipalities to identify challenges and best practices in processing and delivering property documents.

Three of the recommendations are for the provincial government, and four are in regards to municipal powers.

The provincial recommendations are the creation of a municipal modernization fund, the call to review Freedom Of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requirements, and to explore implementing a provincial zoning atlas for public data. On the municipal side, the report suggests implementing electronic payment systems, enhancing application interfaces, creating clear and accessible property information request guidance, and enabling online tracking of applications.

“Realtors take their professional obligation to provide consumers with the necessary information and documentation on a property seriously,” AIR president Kaytee Sharon said in a press release. “A big part of that information—from inspection reports to permits to sewer hookups—is only available in municipal property documents.

“Unfortunately, we know that in a lot of cases getting these documents can be a long and arduous process full of expenses, exceedingly long timelines and inefficiencies. There’s definitely room for improvement.”

Several of the recommendations involve digitizing information that is currently available only in paper form.