The son of a real estate agent has been fined after he illegally took over the business when his father was hospitalised.
The Queensland Office of Fair Trading announced yesterday that Damien Grimsey had been found guilty of operating without a licence and the improper use of a trust account.
Mr Grimsey was fined $5,000 for trading unlicensed and disqualified from holding any form of real estate licence or certificate for seven years.
He was also ordered to pay $7,687 compensation to a client for failing to pass on an insurance claim payment.
Mr Grimsey operated without a licence from July 2008 to November 2008 and May 2011 to January 2012.
“The tribunal heard Mr Grimsey stepped in to take over his father’s real estate business, State Invest Property Services, while his father was hospitalised,” the Office of Fair Trading said.
“After a receiver was placed in charge of State Invest Property Services, Mr Grimsey opened another trust account under a similar name and sent notices to clients falsely stating that normal trading would shortly resume under the new trust account.”
Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said family members can’t just assume unauthorised control over a licensed business, even in unfortunate circumstances.
“The property industry is licenced and regulated to protect the public and maintain a high level of professionalism.
“Consumers have the right to expect their real estate agent is appropriately licensed, and has the training and knowledge to be able to carry out the job properly," Mr Bauer said
Mr Bauer said a person needs a licence to perform duties such as advertising a property, showing a property to potential buyers or negotiating a sale.
“The law does allow a principal licensee to appoint a substitute licensee for a period of not more than 30 days providing certain conditions are satisfied under the Property Occupations Act 2014,” he said.