A Far North real estate agent has been found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct after advertising a property as having beach access across a stream when there was no such access.
The Real Estate Agents Authority charged George Goodhew of Mid Northern Real Estate in Kaikohe with misconduct early this year after a complaint from Aucklander Mark Scott. Goodhew advertised a property on State Highway 12 at Omapere, 60km south west of Kaikohe, as having "beach access across Omapere stream" when there was none as the land in question was privately-owned by Maori.
The Omapere stream is an area of significance to local Maori. The authority said Goodhew either knew it was Maori land or later learnt the status but did not correct his earlier advice.
Goodhew told Mr Scott that there were no claims by Maori that could require consultation with the landowners.
He told Mr Scott there were no resource consent issues and there was a space for a house when in fact it was not possible to build without consent from the Far North District Council, the authority said.
Goodhew denied the charge and appealed to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.
Enquiring with the council about erosion of the foreshore, Mr Scott found that resource consent was needed.
When he told Goodhew about it, Goodhew said he wasn't aware. Mr Scott made a conditional offer, obtained resource consent and confirmed the purchase. He told the tribunal he only found out the land Goodhew referred to as reserve was Maori land after signing the agreement.
The nearest beach access across publicly-owned land was 200m north of the property. Goodhew told the tribunal that he was of the view that the land at Omapere was reserve and he relied upon information from kaumatua John Klaricich.
There were many ways to get to the beach and he didn't accept that the particular in the mortgagee auction flyer "beach access across Omapere stream" was misleading. The tribunal found Goodhew was not dishonest or reckless about information he gave to Mr Scott but he was just careless about the need for accuracy. The tribune will decide a penalty for Goodhew.