Supervisor to take control of settlement agency after concerns raised (Real Asset Conveyancing Pty Ltd)

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerProperty industry
  • Consumer Protection granted supervision order to take over settlement agency
  • Action follows failure to complete recent settlements and disburse funds
  • Transactions involving the agency’s trust account under investigation

A supervisor will be appointed to a West Leederville settlement agency to take control of the agency’s bank accounts and its operations after concerns were raised about its inability to complete numerous property settlements and failing to communicate with clients.

The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) has granted an application by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection to appoint a supervisor to take control of Real Asset Conveyancing Pty Ltd, which has been a licensed settlement agency since 2013.

The basis of the application was that the agency was incapable of conducting its business, and was not conducting its business in compliance with the Settlement Agents Act. This included the failure of the Director of the company and person in bona fide control to properly supervise the agency.

Consumer Protection is investigating the agency’s failure to properly complete the recent settlements and disbursement of funds involving ten properties in Forrestfield, West Leederville, Yokine, Noranda, Success, Beldon, Woodvale and Floreat. Other clients report no communication from the agency after paying deposits relating to the sale of apartments in North Coogee and after engaging the agency for the settlement of properties in Maylands, Neerabup and Wembley Downs.

Investigations are also being carried out into allegedly irregular transactions relating to the agency’s trust account.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the action was taken to protect the owners and buyers of the properties involved.

“We acted quickly as soon as concerns were raised and when the Director of the licensed settlement agency failed to attend a meeting with us and was then unable to be contacted,” Mr Newcombe said.

“It became apparent that there was no-one effectively in control of the agency, prompting us to apply to appoint a supervisor to take over the agency’s operations and bank accounts. This is to ensure that clients’ funds are protected and outstanding settlements and disbursements are completed.

“Immediate and decisive action will always be taken to safeguard the money and property of consumers where we believe, on reasonable grounds, that a settlement agent is either unable or unwilling to fulfil their obligations under the Act.”

Consumer Protection will report back to the SAT on 14 December 2021 to determine if the supervision order needs to be extended.

Enquiries about this matter can be made by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
21 Sep 2021

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