Property management company fined after trust account audit (Rental Solutions / Kim Turner)
A property management company and its licensee have been fined a total of $4,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal over the misuse of the agency’s trust account.
South Coast Realty (WA) Pty Ltd, trading as Rental Solutions of Hay Street Perth, was fined $3,000 and licence holder Kim Edward Turner was fined $1,000 on 26 March 2015.
Consumer Protection took disciplinary action after an audit found the agency failed to comply with the Real Estate and Business Agents Act with regard to the operation of its trust account between January 2012 and December 2012.
The company admitted that it failed to keep full and accurate trust account records and failed to exercise due skill, care and diligence in the maintenance of the trust account in the 2012 audit year. Mr Turner admitted that he failed to properly supervise the business.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said it’s essential that trust accounts are operated according to the law in order to maintain the public’s confidence in the industry.
“Real estate agencies and property management companies hold large amounts of money in trust for tenants and property owners – that’s why there are strict rules surrounding the handling of those funds and regular auditing of trust accounts.” Ms Driscoll said.
“While there was no monetary loss for clients in this case, agents, property managers and their employees should be aware of the procedures relating to the handling of bond and rent payments from tenants and make sure there are systems in place to ensure the funds are handled and accounted for in accordance with the law.”
More information on the obligations of real estate agents and sales representatives 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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