Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Agent knew couple's sea views would be blocked

A couple who bought a house based on stunning sea views were shocked when they found out their neighbours were building a two-storey unit which would partially block their view.

Now the real estate agent who sold them the house has been found guilty of misconduct after it emerged that she knew about the building plans four weeks before the home was sold to them.

Licensed LJ Hooker agent Tanya Dunham, of Tauranga, is to face a penalty hearing on Monday with the Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal.

The Real Estate Agents Authority laid misconduct charges against Dunham last June following a complaint from Rosalie and Jared Ogilvy.

The tribunal said: "Our major concern in this case is that this is another example of people buying a property with wonderful views, in good faith, but based on misleading information from the real estate agent so that they have not purchased the type of property they had expected."

The agent has also been found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct for failing to disclose that the house she was selling belonged to her parents.

The Ogilvys complained after finding out a neighbour on Forrester Dr was building a unit that would partially block their views of nearby Welcome Bay. The couple learned of their neighbour's plans when they saw construction work in December, 2013 - four months after they bought their new home on August 30.

The owner of that house told the tribunal he had contacted Dunham about his plans on August 2 after realising the opposite house was going on the market and that prospective buyers should be made aware of the view being affected.

The agent acknowledged receipt of the email and an offer from the neighbour to provide an artist's impression of his new two-storey unit.

However, the Ogilvys say they were not told of the plans.

Documents show Dunham denied both charges, saying she had pointed out building plans at the opposite property to the couple and verbally disclosed that the vendors were her parents.

Mr and Mrs Ogilvy strongly disagreed, testifying that on one occasion when they visited the property with Dunham, the agent pointed out that the opposite house was having some work done.

"Mr and Mrs Ogilvy responded that it looked as if there was going to be a double garage or carport build at a single-level and that the [agent] simply responded: 'Oh that is right - probably'."

The decision also outlined how the Ogilvys had not been told Dunham was acting on behalf of her parents. The agent had only referred to them as "family members."

It was not until the day after they had officially purchased the house that one of the couple's relatives noticed wedding photos of the agent and asked her if she was the vendors' daughter - to which the agent answered yes.

Real Estate Institute NZ board director Bryan Thomson said the rules around disclosure were simple.

"If a sales consultant knows something that could be important to a purchaser, then you've got to disclose. If you do know there's a fault with a property, that you're aware of, you have to disclose.

"If you know that a view's going to be built out, then you have to disclose because that would obviously be pertinent to a buyer's decision."

Dunham did not return requests for comment and a spokesman for LJ Hooker Tauranga said they would hold off commenting about the case until after the penalty hearing.

Real estate rules


A licensee (agent) is guilty of misconduct if their conduct constitutes seriously incompetent or seriously negligent real estate agency work.

Unsatisfactory conduct:

If they carry out real estate agency work that falls short of the standard that a reasonable member of the public is entitled to expect from a reasonably competent licensee.

Source: Real Estate Agents Act 2008

- NZ Herald

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