A registered real estate sales representative has been fined a total of $8,000 and given a criminal conviction for managing a property unlicensed and breaching tenancy laws.
Ebony Cheetham was convicted and ordered to pay costs of $700 by Joondalup Magistrates Court.
In December 2013 Ms Cheetham offered to find a tenant for and manage a friend’s property in Clarkson, Western Australia, despite not having a real estate agent’s licence and triennial certificate, which would have given her authority to act as a property manager.
Ms Cheetham rented out the property to a tenant without having a proper licence or valid appointment, and was also convicted and fined for failing to provide a receipt for the security bond and failing to lodge it with the Bond Administrator.
During her dealings with the landlord and tenant, Ms Cheetham used an unlicensed and unregistered business name, while the rent and bond were paid directly into her personal bank account and the property management fees, which were not specified in writing, were deducted from the rent payments before the rent was paid to the landlord.
Ms Cheetham was further convicted of failing to comply with a special condition of her registration as a sales representative, which required her to complete Compulsory Professional Development units that were outstanding from previous years.
Ms Cheetham was fined:
- $5,000 for holding herself out as a real estate agent without a licence;
- $1,000 for receiving a commission without a licence or valid appointment;
- $500 for failing to comply with a special condition placed on her certificate of registration;
- $1,000 for failing to provide a receipt for a bond; and
- $500 for failing to lodge a security bond.
Magistrate Shackelton said Ms Cheetham should have been aware of her obligations with regards to property management since she’d been a registered sales representative for two years.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said property managers need to be licensed, or work for a licensee, and comply with all relevant laws since strict rules are set out with regard to contracts, services to be carried out, commissions to be paid and the receiving and disbursement of funds.
“Operating as a property manager without a licence, as well as disregarding tenancy laws, strips the landlord and tenant of their rights and protections,” Mr Hillyard said.
“The case is also a reminder for all licensed real estate sales people and agents to ensure they maintain the Compulsory Professional Development points required to keep their licences and registrations valid.”
Ms Cheetham no longer holds a certificate of registration as a real estate sales representative.
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