An agency that refused to repay a tenant's bond for more than six months, even after a court order, has been fined for its conduct.
Bob Oliver Realty, a Western Australian agency based in Applecross, was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay costs of $451 over the bond dispute.
The Fremantle Magistrates Court charged Bob Oliver Realty with failing to pay back a security bond to a tenant, in accordance with a court order, within seven days.
Lawyers from Consumer Protection told the Court that the bond of $5,527 was paid to the tenant six months after the Court issued an order for the bond to be paid. The payment was made after the Fremantle Community Legal Centre lodged a complaint with Consumer Protection, and an appeal by the agent failed.
During sentencing, Magistrate Langdon said that, after 30 years of being licensed, the real estate agent should have full understanding of tenancy laws and their responsibilities. The Magistrate reminded the agent that Court orders need to be complied with and added that it was inappropriate for the agent not to exercise proper supervision of the agency’s property manager.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the case highlighted the need for real estate agents and property managers to dispose of security bonds in accordance with the law.
“A tenant should not have to go to such lengths and wait so long to receive bond money to which they are legally entitled,” Ms Driscoll said.
“All agents and property managers should be well aware of the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act and keep up to date with changes to bond requirements when they come into effect at the end of this year.”
Real Estate Business attempted to contact the agency, however it would appear the phones had been disconnected.