A "clear message" has been sent to those operating in the fringes of real estate, after an Auckland man was fined for unlicensed trading, including the proposed sale of a $2 million property.
Stuart Jackson was found guilty of unlicensed trading when he appeared at the Auckland District Court last Thursday.
The former director of Catalyst 2 Properties Limited, which is in liquidation, was fined $2500 plus costs after he falsely signed a sale and purchase agreement as a licensed agent.
Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said Jackson's prosecution sent a "clear message" to those participating in illegal real estate activity.
"People working in this space must understand that they need to be licensed in order to carry out real estate work," he said.
Jackson was the director of Catalyst 2 Properties Limited from February 26, 2014, to November 11, 2015.
"The REAA exists to regulate the activities of licensed agents, but it also protects the public from unlicensed people involved in real estate," Lampen-Smith said.
"Buying and selling property is a complex process and this decision shows that people who break the rules will face serious consequences."
Court documents show Jackson attended a meeting with a potential buyer and seller, whose names are suppressed, in Wellington on April 14, 2015.
At the meeting Jackson proposed terms on behalf of the buyer to purchase shares in an Auckland property, and provided a copy of a residential sale and purchase agreement.
The agreement, dated April 14, 2015, showed the property would be purchased for $2 million.
Catalyst 2 Properties Limited was listed in the agreement as the "licensed real estate agent" and the company claimed a two per cent commission from the seller.
Jackson initialled the sale and purchase agreement above "Licensed Real Estate Agent" and on behalf of Catalyst 2 Properties Limited.
On April 22, 2015, Jackson sent an email to the seller requesting a signed copy of the sale and purchase agreement.
The seller received a letter from Jackson on May 8, 2015, stating an agreement had been reached in principle to settle and attached a draft deed of settlement.
The deed of settlement reads: "[The seller] agrees that a commission of 2 per cent of the property purchase price is to be deducted from the payment of the property purchase price ... and is to be paid to Stuart Jackson."
Neither the sale and purchase agreement or the deed were executed by the seller and no sale was made.
Lampen-Smith said it was important New Zealanders know they are dealing with a licensed real estate agent, and noted the REAA's online public register shows those with a licence.
"If you work with an unlicensed person to buy or sell a property and something goes wrong, you cannot seek the same redress or remedies through the REAA's disciplinary process," he said.
The register also shows if a licensed agent has had any complaints upheld against them.
People convicted of carrying out real estate agency work without a licence are liable to a fine of up to $40,000, under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.