Real estate agency fined for late lodgement

Stock image.
Stock image.

A REAL estate agency and its supervisor have been fined $15,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal for failing to lodge tenancy bonds in time and recording wrong dates.

Maylands agency Caputo & Clay Pty Ltd, now trading as Perth Realty Group, was fined $12,000 and the person in control of the agency Michael Geoffrey Clay was fined $3000 for breaching the Real Estate and Business Agents Code of Conduct.

The agency collected nine bonds from tenants and failed to lodge them within the required time between December 2017 and May 2018.

It also incorrectly recorded dates for eight of the bonds received and entered later dates in the BondsOnline system instead.

The tribunal also found Mr Clay to be in breach of the Code by failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure the staff complied in regard to the proper processing of bond payments.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard. Picture: Commerce.wa.gov.au

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said delays in lodging bonds by real estate agents and property managers were unacceptable as the process to record the date accurately was simple.

“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,” he 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.

“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.

“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.”

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