The Indemnity Committee
The Real Estate Indemnity Fund (FICI) offers free protection to consumers who are victims of fraud, fraudulent tactics or misappropriation of funds committed by an agency or a real estate broker in the course of a real estate transaction.
The FICI was created under the Real Estate Brokerage Act and is funded annually by contributions paid by all real estate agencies and brokers in Québec.
The Indemnity Committee
The indemnity committee decides on claim admissibility and rules on the amount of compensation to be paid. It performs its duties in accordance with the rules set out in the Real Estate Brokerage Act and its regulations. This committee is made up of three to nine members, appointed by the OACIQ Board of Directors.
Although the OACIQ manages the FICI, the Fund’s assets are completely separate from those of the Organization and used exclusively to pursue the Fund’s mission. When the Indemnity Committee believes that a victim should be compensated, the OACIQ is responsible for compensating him or her from the sums contained in the Fund, in accordance with the decisions of the Indemnity Committee. The maximum compensation that can be paid is $35,000 per claim for an act committed before May 10, 2018. The maximum compensation per claim will be increased to $100,000 for an act committed on May 10, 2018, or after.
Brokers and agencies must comply with various regulations aimed at protecting the public. Although the actions described hereafter seldom occur, they can result in compensation.
Fraud and fraudulent tactics (dishonest)
The Indemnity Committee can assist you if you have been financially wronged. For example, if you were voluntarily misled by a broker in the course of a brokerage transaction, whether by misrepresentation or by voluntary omission.
Misappropriation of funds
You may benefit from the protection provided by the Indemnity Fund if you are unable to recover a sum entrusted to a broker in the course of a transaction.
What other recourses are available?
Some reprehensible actions may not necessarily constitute fraud, a fraudulent tactic or a misappropriation of funds: please contact the OACIQ Info Centre for other protections you may be entitled to.
ATTENTION: It is recommended to ensure that the agency or broker you are dealing with is indeed holder of a valid licence. To do this, check the register of licence holders on oaciq.com site, under "Find a broker." If this is not the case, the individual who receives compensation in a brokerage transaction is acting illegally, and you have no recourse with the Fund should a problem occur.
Fortunately, cases of fraud, fraudulent tactics and misappropriation of funds remain infrequent and the victims few, especially considering the thousands of brokerage transactions carried out each year in Québec.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM WITH THE FICI?
To be valid, all claims must be filed in the year where the action concerned came to the claimant’s knowledge for acts committed before May 10, 2018 and within two years in which the claimant becomes aware of the alleged act for acts committed on May 10, 2018 or after, by filling a request for assistance with supporting evidence of the allegations and the damages claimed.
Before filing your claim, you must make sure that your situation meets the main admissibility criteria:
- The person concerned by the claim must have been a broker holding a licence issued by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) at the time of the incident;
- The broker must have been practising his or her profession at the time;
- You must file your claim with the OACIQ by respecting the limitation period of one or two years following the date upon which you became aware of the facts;
- You must be able to demonstrate, using a list of events, people involved and witnesses, and relevant supporting documents, that the situation justifies compensation, in other words that the broker committed fraud, a fraudulent tactic or a misappropriation of funds.
ATTENTION: Certain reprehensible acts committed involuntarily by your broker, whether a case of fault, error, negligence or omission, do not fall under the indemnity committee’s responsibility. In case of doubt, contact the OACIQ Info Center.
To file a claim application, you must complete all six sections of the Claim Application Form.
- Identity of the claimant
- Identity of the broker
- Claim amount
Note: As of May 10, 2018, the maximum indemnity that can be paid out of the Fund is $100,000 per claim with respect to fraud, fraudulent tactics or misappropriation of funds. For the acts committed before May 10, 2018, the maximum indemnity is $35,000.
- Property concerned
- Date at which you became aware of fraud or misappropriation of funds.
Note: you must file your claim in the year following the date on which you became aware of the actions for which a claim is filed.
- Facts related to the claim
Note: it is your responsibility to demonstrate, by listing the events, the individuals involved and any witnesses, and by providing all supporting documents, that you are entitled to compensation.
Once your application is duly completed, you must send it to the OACIQ. The indemnity committee may request additional information or documents from you to complete its file.
Your claim and the broker’s version (where available) of the facts will then be referred to the committee, which will determine whether your claim is admissible and, if so, the amount of the compensation to be paid.
The main reasons why a claim is rejected are the absence of evidence of bad faith or dishonest intent, the absence of evidence of damage, or the claimant's involvement in the alleged fraud.
You will then be informed of the indemnity committee’s decision, which is final and cannot be appealed. It can be reviewed by the committee if new facts so warrant.
Members of the Indemnity Committee
Me Nada Najm
Jean-Robert Benoit, chartered real estate broker AEO
Julie Villeneuve, chartered real estate broker AEO
Me Jean-Francois Corriveau, lawyer