A Perth-based real estate agency has had its licence and trading certificate cancelled and has been fined $1,500 over the unauthorised withdrawal of funds from a landlord's trust account.
According to a Department of Commerce statement, a Victoria Park-based real estate agency has had its licence and trading certificate cancelled and has been fined $1,500 over the unauthorised withdrawal of funds from a landlord's trust account.
Spirit Real Estate, based in Victoria Park, and which has since ceased trading, was also ordered by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) on 4 May 2012 to re-pay $536.84 to the landlord, as well as pay the Department's legal costs of $500.
Consumer Protection commenced disciplinary action against the agency after it unlawfully withdrew money from the trust account without the permission of the landlord and failed to act in the best interests of their client in October 2010.
By doing so, the statement continued, the agency contravened the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and the Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives.
Acting commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the case highlights the need for real estate agents to handle clients' funds with integrity.
"The laws and regulations under which real estate agents operate ensure that the funds they handle on behalf of their clients are kept safely in trust accounts and should not be used for any other purpose without the authority of their client," Mr Newcombe said.
"Agents who misuse these funds by failing to deposit their client's money in trust accounts or by making unauthorised withdrawals are breaking the law and can risk having their operating licence cancelled."