Late bonds cost a South Hedland real estate agency $10,000 (Crawford Realty)
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Lodging bonds late has cost a Pilbara real estate agency more than $10,000 in a fine and court costs.
Oresome (WA) Pty Ltd, trading as Crawford Realty of South Hedland, was fined $9,500 and ordered to pay costs of $970 on 28 February 2014 after pleading guilty in the South Hedland Magistrates Court to 21 charges of failing to lodge bonds with the Bond Administrator ‘as soon as practicable’ as required by the Residential Tenancies Act at the time of the offences. On 1 July 2013 the Act was changed, requiring agents to lodge bonds ‘as soon as practicable and, in any event, within 14 days of receipt’.
Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the court that the company had taken between 15 and 60 days to lodge 21 security bonds totalling more than $170,000. The bonds were collected between March and August 2012.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said real estate agents and property managers need to review their office procedures to ensure speedy lodgement of bonds.
“It’s essential that tenants’ funds are safe and secure and lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as possible. Taking many weeks or even months to do so is unacceptable and is a breach of the law,” Ms Driscoll said.
“The appropriate lodgement and security of tenant’s bond moneys is an issue that Consumer Protection takes seriously. Agents and property managers need to keep their business in order so they don’t run the risk of being prosecuted.”
Real estate agents, property managers, landlords and tenants can find more information on bonds on the Consumer Protection website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/tenancy or contact us on 1300 30 40 54 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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