Clarkson real estate sales representative convicted for breaching tenancy laws and managing property without agent’s licence

Clarkson real estate sales representative convicted for breaching tenancy laws and managing property without agent’s licence

A CLARKSON real estate sales representative now has a criminal record for managing a rental property without an agent’s licence.

Ebony Te Whakaaronga Cheetham was convicted in Joondalup Magistrates Court about six weeks ago and ordered to pay an $8000 fine and $700 in court costs.

She was also found to have breached tenancy laws.

In December 2013, Cheetham offered to find a tenant for a friend’s property in Clarkson.

She became manager of the property once a tenant was found.

Cheetham did not have the authority to do this because she was only a real estate sales representative.

She needed to have a real estate agent’s licence and triennial certificate, which would have given her authority to act as a property manager.

Furthermore, she needed to be working under the authority of a licensed agent, which she was not.

Despite this, Cheetham rented out the property to a tenant without a proper licence, breaching the Real Estate and Business Agents Act.

She was also convicted and fined for failing to provide a receipt for the security bond and failing to lodge it with the Bond Administrator as required by the Residential Tenancies Act.

In her dealings with the landlord and tenant, Cheetham used a business name that was neither licensed nor registered and the rent and bond were paid directly into her personal bank account.

Property management fees, which were not specified in writing, were deducted from the rent payments before being paid to the landlord.

Cheetham was further convicted of failing to comply with a special condition of her registration as a sales representative, which required her to complete Compulsory Professional Development units that were outstanding from previous years.

She no longer holds a certificate of registration as a real estate sales representative.

Acting Consumer Protection commissioner David Hillyard said property managers needed to be licensed, or at least work for a licensee.

“The licensing regime and laws covering property management activities are in place to protect both the property owner and tenant,” he said.

“Strict rules are set out with regard to contracts, services to be carried out, commissions to be paid and the receiving and disbursement of funds.”

“Operating as a property manager without a licence, as well as disregarding tenancy laws, strips the landlord and tenant of their rights and protections.

“The case is also a reminder for all licensed real estate salespeople and agents to ensure they maintain the Compulsory Professional Development points required to keep their licences and registrations valid.”