Unlicensed agent ignores fine, keeps trading

The man at the centre of a ‘fake agent’ scandal has just listed another property, despite being punished for operating without a licence.

Peter Franklin Atherton, who is based in the New South Wales town of Goulburn, is named as the agent for a three-bedroom home in the village of Bigga.

The property listing was this week added to realestateworld.com.au, which is a division of the Estate Agents Co-operative.

The property has also been listed on REA Group, OzPropertyView and GetSoldPrice, although it’s unclear when it was added to these sites.

Fair Trading NSW announced on Monday that consumers should avoid Mr Atherton because he’s not a licensed agent, while his business, Franklin Real Estate, isn’t registered with ASIC. It also said that he had been issued with a $2,200 penalty.

Real Estate Business phoned Mr Atherton for comment, but he did not answer the call or respond to a voicemail message.

Mr Atherton has been an EAC member, although the association’s chief executive, David Crombie, said that his membership had been cancelled yesterday.

Mr Crombie told Real Estate Business that EAC moved to terminate Mr Atherton’s membership after learning about the matter over the weekend.

The association also plans to remove the Bigga listing, according to Mr Crombie, although it was still live at publication deadline.

“You don't actually have to be a licensed agent to be a member of EAC, you've just got to be a majority shareholder in the company, but obviously you've got to have a licence to be in charge,” Mr Crombie said.

“But obviously, for ethical reasons, we don’t want agents that are practicing unlicensed.”

Mr Crombie said EAC would raise the issue of unlicensed agents while meeting on June 16 with Victor Dominello, the minister responsible for Fair Trading.

“It’s another issue that we'll be raising within this light and our suspicion of a lot of agents out there operating unlicensed,” he said.

Fair Trading declined to comment.

[Related: Agencies fined for employing unlicensed staff]

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