A state-based regulator said a fine levied on a sales representative for forging his registration papers shows why commercial property agents should be licensed.
The commercial sales agent, David Gammal, was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay costs of $748 by the Perth Magistrates Court for selling at least nine properties between March and November 2011.
Acting commissioner for Consumer Protection in Western Australia, Gary Newcombe, said the court case highlighted the need for all salespersons working in the real estate industry to be registered.
“The licensing and registration system is essential in protecting the interests of consumers involved in home and land sales in WA,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Particularly when salespeople are re-entering the industry after a period of absence, they need to ensure they have the proper certificates in place before they start selling property.”
Stephen Meagher, director of property industries at Consumer Protection, agreed that principals should remain diligent and audit their staff.
“To become licensed in WA, agents go through fit and proper checks,” he told Real Estate Business.
“Clearly, it’s important that these checks are done before agents come into the industry. It’s important that in real estate transactions those agents are licensed so that people are covered by fidelity fund coverage.
“We would suggest that licensees routinely check their staff, to ensure that their registrations are up to date.
“Principals can go online and check their staff's details, and we fully encourage principals to ensure new employees are registered, and also to get into a habit of making sure their staff are up-to-date with their registrations.
“While it’s up to the representative to renew the registration, it’s the responsibility of the licence holder to make sure it’s done,” Mr Meagher said.
David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA), congratulated the Department of Commerce and claimed the incident highlighted the importance to keep commercial agents licensed with the introduction of national licensing.
“I commend the Department of Commerce on their diligence in maintaining and supporting such high standards in WA and support any moves by the regulator to stamp out unlicensed and unqualified persons who seek to work in real estate,” Mr Airey said.
“The proposal by the federal government through NOLS to lower licensing and educational standards is a nonsense and this prosecution case is a classic example of what we could be in for if commercial agents and sales reps are allowed to operate without licensing or professional standards.”