Agency accused of ‘unlawful conduct’ after random inspection

The regulator has punished a suburban agency after compliance officers discovered problems with its paperwork.

South Australia’s regulator said that JK Adelaide Property Group had “allegedly engaged in unlawful conduct”, with inspections revealing that it had “acted on behalf of a vendor without authorisation after not correctly meeting contractual requirements”.

Consumer and Business Services said that the business and its sole director, Jonathon Kiritsis, were found likely to have breached their obligations under the Land and Business (Sales and Conveyancing) Act 1994 and the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.

JK Adelaide Property Group is currently trading as Harcourts Kiritsis Property, although the business wasn't with Harcourts at the time of the incident.

Consumer and Business Services has accepted a formal written assurance from the JK Adelaide Property Group and Mr Kiritsis.

“The assurance states that they will refrain from engaging in specified unlawful conduct,” according to Consumer and Business Services.

“Further, Mr Kiritsis has given an assurance that he will undertake additional training to ensure future compliance with the law.”

A written assurance is a formal undertaking that may be used in place of disciplinary action. Agencies can be prosecuted if they fail to comply with assurances.

Consumer affairs commissioner Dini Soulio said this case is a prime example of a business failing to do its due diligence and meet its compliance obligations.

“We will continue to perform random inspections of registered businesses and individuals to stamp out unlawful behaviour,” Mr Soulio said.

“While these offences are proper cause for disciplinary action both against JK Adelaide Property Group and Mr Kiritsis, due to the nature of breaches and the cooperation provided to CBS with its investigation, on this occasion we have accepted a formal written assurance from the JK Adelaide Property Group and Mr Kiritsis.”

Andrew Friebe, Harcourts’ chief executive for South Australia, told REB that the incident occurred before Mr Kiritsis joined Harcourts earlier this year.

“The breaches have been acknowledged by the agency concerned, and its principal has cooperated fully with Consumer and Business Services and will receive additional training to ensure ongoing compliance with the acts,” he said.

“Compliance within the real estate industry is increasingly complex and it is important that all agents inform themselves of their legal obligations.”

[Related: Breaching the act is ‘common in a tight market’]

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