A Western Australia-based agency has received more than $10,000 worth of fines and costs after failing to lodge bonds fast enough.
Crawford Realty South Hedland was fined $9,500 and ordered to pay costs of $970 last month after pleading guilty in the South Hedland Magistrates Court to 21 charges of failing to lodge bonds with the Bond Administrator "as soon as practicable".
In July last year the act was changed and now requires agents to lodge bonds "as soon as practicable and, in any event, within 14 days of receipt".
According to lawyers for Consumer Protection, Crawford Realty South Hedland had taken between 15 and 60 days to lodge 21 security bonds totalling more than $170,000.
The bonds were collected between March and August 2012.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said real estate agents and property managers need to review their office procedures to ensure speedy lodgement of bonds.
“It’s essential that tenants’ funds are safe and secure and lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as possible. Taking many weeks or even months to do so is unacceptable and is a breach of the law,” Ms Driscoll said.
“The appropriate lodgement and security of tenants' bond monies is an issue that Consumer Protection takes seriously. Agents and property managers need to keep their business in order so they don’t run the risk of being prosecuted.”