Identifying and reporting illegal brokerage

Do you know what does “illegal practice” mean? It’s when someone leads you to believe that he is authorized to act as a real estate broker, while he does not hold a valid licence issued by the OACIQ. In Québec, all real estate brokers and agencies must hold a valid licence to practice.

A person who does not hold an OACIQ licence and carries out a real estate brokerage transaction for someone else in return for compensation, violates the Real Estate Brokerage Act (section 4 and 13). In addition, he exposes himself to criminal prosecution before the Court of Québec.

However, certain individuals are not subject to the Real Estate Brokerage Act when, under certain conditions, they engage in brokerage transactions. For details, please refer to sections 2 and 3 of the Act.

You see a property for sale on social networks. The seller is offering a reward to the person who finds a buyer. And one of your acquaintances is looking exactly for a similar property. You want to put these two people in contact and get the reward? Attention! Acting as an intermediary and getting compensation could constitute an illegal brokerage transaction and you could be exposed to criminal prosecution.


The OACIQ may investigate to determine if an individual or a company is carrying out brokerage activities illegally or leading others to believe that they are authorized to do so. If you believe you are facing such a situation, notify the OACIQ by completing a request for assistance: the Assistance Department will receive and review your request. The information centre Info OACIQ can help you complete your request, if necessary.

You will be informed in writing of the results of the investigation and the subsequent steps that will be taken if criminal proceedings are instituted. If so, note that you could be called to appear as a witness during a trial before the Court of Québec.

REMINDER: When you do business with someone who is engaging in real estate brokerage illegally, you cannot benefit from the protection mechanisms under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, such as the Real Estate Indemnity Fund (FICI), in addition to not benefiting from the expertise of a professional.

Good advice…

Before enlisting the services of a real estate broker, make sure he holds a valid licence. You can do so by checking the Register of licence holders or by contacting Info OACIQ.

Confidential information line

If you believe you have witnessed a questionable real estate transaction, the OACIQ provides you with a fully confidential information line: 1-866-533-6363 or by visiting

Last updated on: June 15, 2020
Article number: 202646