As reported in the Times in August, 2011, the owners of the property signed up to Presto Property Solutions’ scheme after responding to a sign ‘we sell houses fast’ on a light pole near their home.
Consumer Protection alleges director Rowan Lines later purported to be the owner of the home when dealing with the tenant/ prospective buyer despite only signing an option to buy it.
‘The Quinns Rocks couple returned from overseas almost a year later to find the tenant/ prospective buyer had sold their above-ground swimming pool,’ acting Commissioner Gary Newcombe said.
Ms Lines said the allegations against her were not based on fact and she would be ‘fighting till the end’.
Mr Newcombe said the Ocean Reef case highlighted the confusing nature of rent-to-buy agreements where the line between tenant and owner was blurred and the legal rights of parties unclear.
‘There are many other risks that we are concerned about,’ he said. ‘Under these schemes, buyers who default on their tenancy agreement or can’t get finance to buy the property at the end of the option period are at risk of losing the money that was intended to go towards the purchase.
‘We are also concerned that money paid by the buyer does not appear to go into a trust account and there is very little accountability of where the funds go or any system in place to keep track of the ongoing option payments.’