A Queensland agent who lost clients’ money and failed to follow the law has been ordered to pay more than $80,000 in fines and will not be able to work in the industry again.
The licence of Martin Jones’ company, Diligent Property Management Pty Ltd, expired in May 2016, and although he did not renew it, he continued working until June the next year.
It did not take long for clients of Mr Jones’ to complain about their service. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) received a complaint from a property owner in November 2016. He thought he had been undercut and was not receiving all of his rental money from Diligent Property Management.
An investigation by OFT uncovered several failures where Mr Jones did not reach the legal standard.
This included not keeping proper records, he had not been adequately appointed by his clients, and he mismanaged trust money.
Clients of his lost money, and the OFT appointed receivers which found the trust account was overdrawn by more than $18,000.
As a result, Mr Jones and his former company were fined $15,000, and he was ordered to pay $18,087 in compensation and $47,767 in costs.
He was also permanently banned from the real estate industry, and he has been permanently banned from being an executive officer of any corporation licensed under the Property Occupations Act 2014.
“There is no place in the real estate industry for people who do not comply with the law,” Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said.
“People trust real estate agents with their most valuable asset, their property, and the OFT will continue to take agents to task if they are found to be doing the wrong thing.”