Melbourne agent James Allan Monaghan has been banned from working as an agent for three years after admitting to two different breaches of the Estate Agents Act.
Consumer Affairs Victoria said the indiscretions centred around a company called Ezibuyhomes, which markets rent-to-own homes. The firm’s Twitter account describes itself as “the place where you can buy your own home without a bank loan”.
Rent-to-buy schemes allow purchasers to bypass lenders by making mortgage-style repayments directly to the vendor.
Consumer Affairs said it started investigating Mr Monaghan once it became aware that his realestate.com.au account was being used to list properties on behalf of Ezibuyhomes, which was not a registered agent.
Mr Monaghan’s account was found to have listed 11 properties for Ezibuyhomes between 2012 and 2014.
Mr Monaghan faced a maximum penalty of $73,805 for helping an unlicensed party do business as a real estate agent.
He also faced a penalty of $3,690 after he failed to answer questions and produce documents that Consumer Affairs requested in June 2014.
Consumer Affairs launched criminal proceedings in November against Mr Monaghan but terminated the legal action after he made “full admissions” and agreed to a series of undertakings.
Mr Monaghan agreed to surrender his agents licence, not to apply for a new licence for three years and not to act as an agents representative for one year.
He also agreed to make a $1,000 contribution to the Victorian Property Fund, which is used by Consumer Affairs to fund grants and compensation claims.
Consumer Affairs director Claire Noone said Mr Monaghan’s breach of the Estate Agents Act was a serious matter since it undermined the public’s confidence in the real estate industry.
[Related: Tip-off leads to jail sentence for agent]