A property manager has been banned from holding a real estate and business agents’ licence and triennial certificate for five years, due to trust account fraud.
Western Australian property manager Van Dung Nguyen, formerly based in Girrawheen, in Perth's northern suburbs, was also fined $3,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal last week.
Mr Nguyen faced disciplinary action by Consumer Protection after he deposited three payments received from the tenant of three Girrawheen units into a business operating account instead of a trust account as required by the Real Estate and Business Agents Act.
Mr Nguyen, who had operated the now-deregistered property management business Golden Investments, had received a total of $13,660 from a tenant for rent, water rates, strata levies and management fees between January 2012 and October 2012.
The funds were used to pay for personal and business expenses unrelated to the management of the properties, leaving the owner out of pocket.
Mr Nguyen filed for bankruptcy in September 2013 and relocated to Queensland.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said income related to the management of properties must be kept separate to an agent’s operational account.
“The law requires that rent and other payments from tenants must be placed in a separate trust account so that the transactions are transparent and the funds cannot be mixed with the day-to-day financial operations of the agency,” Ms Driscoll said.
“This allows for easy auditing and gives both the tenant and property owner confidence to know that their funds are being used appropriately.
“Agents who borrow money from their trust accounts to pay their operational expenses are breaking the law and will face disciplinary action.”