Real estate agency faces fraud investigation

A Sydney agency has been placed under external control as it faces investigation for alleged trust account breaches.

The Office of Fair Trading told REB that it is investigating Strathfield-based Haus Real Estate, although it declined to provide further details during the ongoing investigation.

PPB Advisory has been appointed to manage Haus Real Estate, according to the NSW Public Register, with PPB partner Brett Lord being appointed joint manager of Haus Real Estate, alongside PPB director Brett Schofield.

“We were appointed by the Office of Fair Trading to investigate alleged deficiencies in the agency’s trust accounts,” Mr Lord told REB.

“Our role is to conduct the business of the agency and to also conduct an investigation into the handling of the trust accounts and the conduct of the trust accounts.”

Mr Lord said he couldn't comment on specifics as the investigation is still in its preliminary stages. He added that he was unsure how long the investigation would take.

Haus Real Estate is continuing to trade, according to Mr Lord.

REB contacted Paul Pak from Haus Real Estate, but he declined to comment.

According to the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002, the regulator may appoint a manager to an agency if it believes “that there has been, or that there may have been, a failure to account by the licensee”.

Subject to the terms of their appointment, managers are empowered to act as if they own the agency.

This includes the power to carry out work on behalf of existing clients, carry out work on behalf of new clients, dispose of assets and wind up the business.

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