While we are fortunate here in Queensland to have the overwhelming majority of agents hold themselves to the highest standards, it’s disappointing to see this sort of conduct have the potential to tarnish the industry.
A Western Australian real estate agency has been fined $5,000 as well as ordered to pay $1,000 in additional costs following the realisation they were keeping off the plan buyers in the dark regarding details on a development’s balcony finishes.
M Property Pty Ltd agreed during the State Administrative Tribunal mediation, there had been two breaches of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives.
The breaches did not align with the codes regulation regarding a sales representative’s failure to disclose information. In this instance, the breach was to buyers during the sales of apartments in a North Coogee development called ‘the Helm’.
On two occasions the sales rep from M Property Pty Ltd disclosed information to potential buyers, telling them that the balcony on the units they were looking at purchasing would be fully enclosed. At the time of this the agent was aware that there had been changes made to the original plan, which meant that the balcony would in fact not be fully enclosed.
On final inspection, both sets of buyers found that they had not received a full set of shutters.
David Hillyard, acting commissioner for consumer protection said the failure to shed light on changes to the balcony shutter plans was unacceptable.
“Buying an apartment is one of the biggest purchases a consumer will make and when it’s a yet-to-be-completed development, a lot of trusts is placed in the agent selling off-the-plan or from a display home,” he said.
“Western Australia’s real estate industry licensing regime exists to maintain high standards and involves compulsory professional development training for agents and sales representatives.
This includes fully understanding the product they are selling. To mislead buyers by not disclosing vital information won’t be tolerated by Consumer Protection, as the regulator.”
Agents must remain diligent to ensure benefits of any kind to anybody involved in a transaction, are adequately disclosed in POA form 8s.