FAILING to provide an auditor with the required information cost a Mandurah real estate agent $1000.
Gregory James O’Farrell, former director of O’Farrell Property Group Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to failing to produce to the auditor, books and all papers, accounts, documents and securities, when he appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court on Friday, November 8.
The court was told O’Farrell was the sole director of the agency and the real estate licence certificate had expired in 2017.
A real estate termination audit agent was appointed and O’Farrell was required to produce paperwork about money received.
The auditor became aware that a previous audit was incomplete and there were matters outstanding.
O’Farrell did not provide enough records for the two audits to be completed.
O’Farrell asked Magistrate Anne Longden to take into consideration the fact he had dealt with auditors previously and had not had an issue. He said all of his staff had stopped work and opened up their books.
Ms Longden said she suspected some of the information required by the auditor did not exist.
O’Farrell was fined $500 and was ordered to pay $553 costs.
Mr O’Farrell currently operates Seachange Realty in Mandurah.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the onus was on Mr O’Farrell to provide the information.
“Even if a real estate agent shuts up shop, they are obliged to ensure all their yearly audits are up to date and provide whatever information or documents that are required to complete those audits,” Mr Hillyard said.
“The annual audits are important safeguards for consumers so agents need to ensure that the reports are submitted within the required time so they can be checked for compliance.”
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.