What is CAROP?

You’ve seen it attached to the bottom of my posts: a logo with a house in a blue diamond, with the acronym CAROP underneath. And then there’s a link.

But that link is almost never clicked. So, I thought I’d provide a bit more information about this association that is so important to the rent-to-own industry, and to all who might consider a rent-to-own program.

Maybe even you.

CAROP stands for The Canadian Association of Rent to Own Professionals. It is the only professional association of rent-to-own providers doing the kind of program that we are: helping frustrated renters become happy homeowners.

Banks are regulated by both federal and provincial governments. Lawyers, realtors, doctors, massage therapists, pharmacists, mortgage brokers—you name it—are also all regulated by one or the other. Yet, they still have their professional associations to monitor and enforce standards. And, when they step out of line, they’re disciplined.

When I started Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own 11½ years ago, the rent-to-own industry had neither regulation nor professional oversight. And a ruling from the Residential Tenancy Branch informed me that it was also outside their jurisdiction.

It was, in a sense, the wild west when it came to the rent-to-own industry. And we discovered that there were some shady operators in it.

So, we started our own professional association. I was one of the ten founding members. We’ve just passed our tenth anniversary.

The Mission of CAROP is “To educate & monitor its members in order to achieve successful outcomes between rent-to-own professionals, clients, and investors.” It supports all three major players in the rent-to-own transaction.

This is accomplished, as our Mission statement continues, through: “Enforcement of ethical and professional conduct among its members; advocacy on behalf of clients, professionals and the industry; development of beneficial relationships with related agencies; mutual exchange of resources and encouragement among members; and making available educational programs for professionals, clients and investors.”

Membership in CAROP is not automatic. Members of CAROP get carefully screened before acceptance into the Association. They need to demonstrate that they are professionally trained to operate ethical rent-to-own programs; they commit themselves to the Association’s Code of Conduct; they commit to carefully screen their clients to avoid setting them up for failure;  they must have credit coaching programs to assist their clients to meet lender qualifications; and they commit to accepting scrutiny and discipline by the Association (even to the extent of expulsion if inappropriate conduct is discovered.)

The bottom line is that the Association works for both the Rent 2 Own Providers and for those whom they help to get into home ownership. This oversight of the industry assures the public that they are dealing with reputable, professional, ethical operators, not fly-by-nighters or shady characters.

Today, many of the largest and most influential rent-to-own operators in Canada, as well as many small ones, proudly display their CAROP membership.

But there are some rent-to-own operators who are not members of CAROP. In the absence of government regulation, there is no requirement to join.

I am often puzzled, though, why some would choose not to join CAROP. I wonder whether they meet the standards of CAROP. Do they, in fact, practice ethical and professional conduct? I wonder whether they want to avoid accountability. I wonder whether they have the best interests of their clients at heart. I wonder whether they provide the helpful resources to their clients to get them through to success. I wonder whether they are fully transparent with their clients.

I don’t wonder, though, whether they can afford it, because membership in CAROP is so inexpensive that, as I often say, “If I get one client because of my membership in CAROP, I can pay my CAROP fees for decades to come.”

I can say, confidently, that that has happened. I have gotten at least one client, and am told it was an influence in many more clients’ decisions, because I am a member of CAROP.

Let’s face it: If you were looking to get into a rent 2 own program and had the choice between a provider who is a member of CAROP and one who isn’t, which would give you the most confidence?

CAROP’s professional guidance is not an empty promise, either. April 22, we have our annual Summit in Toronto. A variety of scheduled speakers and a panel will help us to develop professionally and provide the latest information and insights to keep us sharp and operating to the highest standards. And we’ll learn from one another as we mingle and share stories.

I will once again be there, to be inspired, refreshed and, hopefully, better educated to more effectively meet the needs of many more who would like, and deserve, to get into their own home.

I bet many of you will now click on the site below, to learn more about CAROP.