This time it was Approved Realty Pty Ltd, trading as iapproved, before the Cleveland Magistrates Court on 5 March.
The agency pleaded guilty to 4 counts related to failure to pay trust account funds and 1 count of failing to provide information to OFT inspectors, as required by the Fair Trading Inspectors Act 2014.
The agency was ordered to pay $6,500 in fines and $1,170 in compensation to the client who brought the complaint.
OFT investigated after receiving the complaint from a property owner who did not receive his rental income for a home in Alexandra Hills.
The court was told the agency performed property management serviced, including rent payments and laws maintenance. Rental amounts were to be deposited into the trust account, and then paid to the owner, weekly.
During 2 weeks in July 2017, the agency received the mentioned $1,170 in rent but then failed to pay the money from the account to the client.
The court was also told that the agency failed to comply with a statutory notice given it by OFT inspectors to provide information to assist the investigation.
Magistrate Deborah Vasta said agents had a duty to handle trust monies appropriately.
Craig Turner, Executive Director of OFT, gave the usual spiel about continuing to take action against agents who risk their clients’ funds:
"Reports made to the OFT of property agents disregarding their legal obligations are taken very seriously.
"Breaches of trust by real estate agents weakens consumer confidence in the property industry."
And we intend to keep reporting about things like this as long as they continue to happen.
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