Government fines agents behaving badly

Two agencies have been slapped with fines after being found guilty of employing unlicensed staff.

Attree Real Estate in Gosnells, Perth, was fined $2,500 for employing and paying commissions to an unregistered agent, according to Consumer Protection WA.

The agency was fined $1,500 for employing the unregistered sales rep and $1,000 for the payment of sales commissions. The offences occurred between August 2012 and May 2013.

“Defence counsel told the court that the employee had failed to renew the registration on time,” according to Consumer Protection.

“Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the court that the employee continued to carry out the functions of a sales representative and receive commissions over a 10-month period, despite the agency being informed by the department that the employee’s certificate of registration had expired.”

Meanwhile, another WA firm, Harcourts Rockingham, was fined $500 after one of its agents was found to have worked without a current certificate of registration.

Consumer Protection said Harcourts Rockingham employed the person for 22 months after the agent’s certificate of registration expired.

The agent was given a $500 fine and was granted a spent conviction.

Western Australia’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Anne Driscoll, said agencies have a legal obligation to ensure all their staff are registered.

“The licensing and registration system is designed to maintain high standards of conduct within the WA real estate industry and provide protection for consumers, who place a great deal of trust in agents and their sales representatives to handle one of their biggest assets,” she said.

“Agents and sales representatives who fail to renew their licences and registrations but continue to operate are breaking the law and will face prosecution, with the risk of being fined as well as having their professional reputation tarnished.”

Consumer Protection did not name any of the agents.

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