Three North Shore real estate agents have been found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct after they were involved in a deal where one bought a property the other was selling, then onsold it a few weeks later for an extra $165,000.
A complaints assessment committee of the Real Estate Agents Authority has released a decision on the agents, Mr Hyun (Mario) Park, Ms Won Ok (Grace) Oh and Ms Mary Youngshin Watkins, who worked for Shoreside Real Estate, trading as Ray White Milford.
All were censured over the December 2012 transactions. Park was fined $4000, Oh was fined $1500 and Watkins was fined $2000.
In a statement tonight, Graeme Fraser of Ray White agency operations said: "Ray White terminated Shoreside Realty on 1 September 2014 before the complaint was lodged."
The complaints assessment committee's decision said: "The details of the complaint are that the complainants listed the property with the agency with Licensee One being the listing salesperson. Licensee Two purchased the property and on-sold the property several weeks later for $165,000.00 more. In addition, during the course of the investigation into this complaint, the issue arose whether the purchasers who purchased the property from Licensee Two were informed that Licensee Two may benefit financially from the transaction.
"In particular, the complainants advised that they did not sign an agency agreement with the agency, that a written appraisal of the property was not provided to the complainants, that the complainants were under a mistaken belief of what the rating valuation of the property was, that the property was not marketed, that the commission paid by the complainants to the licensees was not deposited into an agency account, that the statutory obligations for Licensee Two seeking to acquire an interest in the property were not complied with, and that the implications of those obligations were not explained to the complainants," the authority found.
"Licensee One, at all material times owned the agency while holding a salesperson's license. The agency employed Licensee Three to satisfy the licensing requirements of the act. There is nothing particularly unusual or untoward about this type of arrangement. However, salesperson licensees are not authorised to carry out real estate agency work on their own account," the authority found.
"In the on-sale agreement for sale and purchase of the property, with Licensee Two as the vendor, Licensee One drafted the following clause: 'The purchaser acknowledge that the vendor is an independent contractor under the Shoreside Real Estate Ltd which is doing the marketing the property'.
"While ostensibly attempting to comply with the requirements of section 136 of the act, namely, disclosing that Licensee Two stood to gain a financial benefit from the transaction, the committee is of the opinion that the clause in question is hopelessly inadequate. Licensee One in his submission blamed his English language ability. This is clearly no excuse, and if anything was all the more reason to consult Licensee Three or a suitably qualified person to ensure that appropriate wording was used in the clause," the authority found.
"Licensee One responded to the complaint against them. In particular, Licensee Onecommented that contrary to the allegations contained in the complaint, there was a signed agency agreement in place, a written appraisal was provided to the complainants, the complainants were aware of the true rating valuation, and that the statutory obligations for Licensee Two in seeking to acquire an interest in the property were complied with.
"Licensee Two commented that contrary to the allegation contained in the complaint, she complied with her statutory obligations as a licensee in seeking to acquire an interest in the property.
"Licensee Three commented that she was not aware of the property being listed, sold, and on-sold until several months after the events when she was contacted by the complainants," the decision said.