Ban and fine for property manager stealing tenants’ money (Brendan Dabinett)
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A property manager who stole tenants’ money has been banned for nine months, fined $3,000 and reprimanded by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
Brendan Geoffrey Dabinett of Morley was also ordered by the SAT to pay costs of $1,200. He admitted to breaching the Residential Tenancies Act, the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and the Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives by:
- receiving cash payments totalling $11,100 for bond and rent from tenants at six properties and keeping the cash for personal use;
- failing to deposit or arranging for the deposit of the cash payments into the agency’s trust accounts;
- failing to give receipts for the bond and rent payments.
Mr Dabinett, who had a real estate sales representative certificate of registration, was working as a property manager for a Cottesloe real estate agency when the offences occurred between October 2015 and March 2016.
The SAT found Mr Dabinett’s conduct was dishonest as it not only involved stealing cash from tenants on six separate occasions but, in one case, he lied to his manager at the agency saying that the cash had been lost. In relation to another case, Mr Dabinett had made unauthorised changes on his manager’s computer in an attempt to conceal the fact that he had stolen the cash payment.
Mr Dabinett ceased to work for the Cottesloe real estate agency in April 2016 and then immediately began work for a Leederville property management company until his current suspension. He has since repaid the money he stole back to the agency.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said that the unlawful and dishonest behaviour displayed in this case undermines the community’s confidence in the property industry.
“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.
More information on the obligations of real estate agents, sales representatives and property managers is available on the Consumer Protection website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/cp/realestate or enquiries can be made by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
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