Unlicensed property management company fined (Asset HQ Property Management Specialists)
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A Sydney-based property management company has been fined a total of $9,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court after advertising properties for rent and managing them on behalf of their owners without being licensed in Western Australia, as well as failing to lodge two bonds with the Bond Administrator.
H and Z Group Pty Ltd, trading as Asset HQ Property Management Specialists, had lodged an application for a real estate agent’s licence in August 2013 but it was withdrawn by the company before being granted.
Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the Court that between June 2013 and September 2013 the company advertised online properties available for rent in Singleton, Carlisle, Landsdale, Rockingham and Butler. The company then managed a number of those properties between July 2013 and January 2014. The company also failed to lodge two bonds of $1,500 each from two of the properties as required by the Residential Tenancies Act.
On 20 March 2015 Asset HQ Property Management Specialists was fined $7,000 for operating in WA without a licence, in breach of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act, and $1,000 on each of the two charges of failing to lodge bonds. The company was also ordered to pay costs of $1,123.
Magistrate Hall said the company’s conduct was made worse by the fact that they were aware of the obligations but continued to conduct their business without a licence.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said real estate agents trading on a national basis must be licensed in each jurisdiction in which they operate.
“Operating in WA without a licence is a serious offence, so national businesses must ensure they have the necessary licences and registrations in place before they advertise their services and conduct business here,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Real estate and tenancy laws can vary from state to state, so agents operating across state and territory borders should check to ensure they are complying with the relevant real estate and tenancy laws.”
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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