06/05/2015 05:16 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT

New Ontario real estate rules bar 'phantom bids'

New rules to be introduced next month will make real estate bidding wars more transparent, and make so-called "phantom bids" a thing of the past, according to provincial officials. 

Under new rules drawn up by the Liberal government and the Ontario Real Estate Board, real estate agents will no longer be allowed to tell a potential buyer about other offers — unless those bids are signed, sealed and delivered. 

The new legislation is meant to do away with offers that are talked about but never materialize, yet still drive up the price. The new regulations take effect July 1.

"The listing agent cannot express he has an offer until he has it in hand, in writing," said Brad Harman of the Brampton Real Estate Board. "It has to be signed by the buyer and this protects the consumer." 

But potential buyers will not be told how close one bid is to another. 

"The details of purchase and sale are between the parties to the transaction," Ray Ferris of the Ontario Real Estate Board told CBC News. "Nobody else should know." 

Complaints or doubts can be taken to the Real Estate Council of Ontario, and the listing agent will be required to show proof.