Lodging bonds late and wrong dates cost real estate agency $15,000 in fines (Caputo & Clay Pty Ltd / Michael Clay)
A Maylands real estate agency and its supervisor have been reprimanded and fined a total of $15,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal for failing to lodge tenancy bonds with the Bond Administrator within the required time limit and for recording wrong dates when received.
Caputo & Clay Pty Ltd, formerly trading as Harcourts Integrity and currently trading as Perth Realty Group, was fined $12,000 and the person in control of the agency Michael Geoffrey Clay was fined $3,000 for breaching the Real Estate and Business Agents Code of Conduct.
Between December 2017 and May 2018 the agency collected nine bonds from tenants but failed to lodge them within the required time, and had also incorrectly recorded the dates on which eight bonds were received by entering later dates in the BondsOnline system.
Mr Clay, as the person in control of the agency, breached the Code by failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff complied with the Code with regard to the proper processing of bond payments.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said delays in lodging bonds by real estate agents and property managers were unacceptable.
“Two weeks is ample time to transfer the funds from the agency’s trust account to the Bond Administrator’s account, especially now that it is done online,” Mr Hillyard said.
“It’s essential to ensure the security and safety of the tenants’ funds that the transfers are carried out as soon as possible and certainly no later than 14 days after receipt. Failing to do that may lead to disciplinary action being taken.
“It is a simple and important process for agents and their employees to accurately record the date the agency receives any part of a residential tenancy bond in the BondsOnline system. In this instance, the practices of the agency were not up to the standard the Tribunal and I expect from the industry.
“Supervisors of agencies must have a system in place where these tasks are carried out in accordance with the Code of Conduct and staff are aware of their duties and responsibilities when processing bond payments.”
More information on the obligations of real estate agents and sales representatives is available on the Consumer Protection website or enquiries can be made by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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