A property manager who stole rent and bond payments from tenants, and attempted to cover up the theft, has been banned for nine months and fined $3,000.
Brendan Geoffrey Dabinett worked as a property manager in a Cottesloe, Perth real estate agency, where he stole cash payments totalling $11,100 for his own personal use.
He failed to deposit or arrange the deposit of the cash into his agency’s trust fund, and failed to give receipts for rent and bond payments, the Department of Commerce said in a statement about the theft which took place between October 2015 and March 2016.
Mr Dabinett was reprimanded by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and ordered to pay $1,200 in addition to the $3,000 fine.
The SAT said Mr Dabinett not only behaved dishonestly by stealing from six tenants, but also lied to his manager about losing the money before making changes to his manager’s computer to conceal the theft.
The property manager admitted to breaching the Residential Tenancies Act, the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and the Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives.
Mr Dabinett ceased working for the Cottesloe agency in April last year, moving on to a Leederville property management firm where he was employed until his suspension.
He has since repaid the stolen money to the Cottesloe agency.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection, David Hillyard, said Mr Dabinett’s actions put those who work in the property industry in a negative light.
“Real estate agents constantly hold money in trust for tenants and property owners so it’s imperative that the rules surrounding the receipt of funds from clients and the operation of trust accounts are strictly adhered to by all staff,” Mr Hillyard said.