The Complaints Committee can investigate complaints about the conduct and/or competence of Members.
Complaints are made in writing to the Registrar using the Complaints Form and by submitting it by email to the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Form 1 – Complaint Form
Once a complaint is received by the Registrar, the complaint is then sent by the Registrar to the Chair of the Complaints Committee. The new complaint is assigned at the next meeting of the Complaints Committee and the investigation begins. The Complaints Committee usually meets monthly when there are active cases.
The Respondent Member is provided with a complete copy of the complaint and asked to respond in writing. The Respondent Member provides a response to the Registrar who in turn gives the response to the Complaints Committee. The response should include any relevant documents.
After the Complaints Committee conducts an investigation, they can:
- Dismiss the complaint;
- Refer the complaint to the Discipline Committee;
- Refer the compliant to mediation; or
- Take other appropriate action to resolve the complaint (this is used most often where the appraiser has made a small mistake in a report that does not warrant a disciplinary hearing).
If the complaint is referred to the Discipline Committee, the Respondent Member is given the opportunity to admit guilt and negotiate a Settlement Agreement with the Complaints Committee. The Settlement Agreement will include penalties such as paying a fine, taking a course, and etc. as appropriate. After the Settlement Agreement is signed by the Respondent Member, the file is sent to the Discipline Committee for a Settlement Conference. At the Settlement Conference the Discipline Committee reviews the Settlement Agreement. If the Discipline Committee approves the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Agreement then gets included in a Decision of the Discipline Committee.
If the Respondent Member does not admit to guilt, then the matter proceeds to a Discipline Committee Hearing.
Q: I am not happy with the value I got on my appraisal. What can I do?
A: You can start by asking the appraiser to explain how the value of your property was determined and what factors lead to this value. If you are still not satisfied, you can get a second opinion from another appraiser. You can make a complaint if you think the appraiser did something wrong, but Nova Scotia Real Estate Appraisers Association only deals with issues of conduct and competence. No damages can be granted to the complainant. Damages can be sought in a civil proceeding; NSREAA recommends getting legal advice.
Q: Can the Complaints Committee tell me the value of my property?
A: No. The Complaints Committee does not arbitrate value.
Q: I want to make a complaint. Will my name be provided to the Respondent Member?
A: Yes, your name will be provided to the Respondent Member as part of the Complaint Form.
Q: How long does the complaints process take?
A: Generally speaking, the process can take a year or longer from start to finish. The Complaints Committee is made up of volunteer members of NSREAA who devote their time to investigate cases. The Discipline Committee is also made up of volunteers.
Q: What gives NSREAA the authority to hear complaints?
A: Please see ss. 20-24 of the Real Estate Appraisers Act, SNS 1998 c 25 Real Estate Appraisers Act (nslegislature.ca)
Q: Who is on the Complaints Committee?
A: The Registrar will provide this information to Complainants and Respondent Members upon request.
Q: I’m a Respondent Member. Can I talk to the Complaints Committee directly?
A: The Complaints Committee has the option to conduct an interview but there is no requirement to do so. Your opportunity to respond is through your written response. Please give a thorough written explanation and provide all relevant documents.
Q: I haven’t heard anything about my case for a while. Who do I contact?
A: The Registrar / Executive Director can advise if the matter is currently under Investigation, or if the Decision has been issued. The Registrar can also confirm receipt of documents.