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Inaccurate details cost real estate agent $2389

By Imran Ali

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The Real Estate Agents Authority charged George Goodhew.
The Real Estate Agents Authority charged George Goodhew.

A Kaikohe real estate agent found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct has been censured and fined $2000 and ordered to pay the complainant nearly $400 in costs.

The Real Estate Agents Authority charged George Goodhew, 74, from Mid Northern Real Estate, with misconduct early this year after a complaint from Aucklander Mark Scott.

Goodhew had advertised a property on State Highway 12 at Omapere as having beach access across Omapere Stream, when the land in question was privately-owned by Maori.

He denied the charge and appealed to the Real Estate Agents' Disciplinary Tribunal.

Goodhew intends to finish work as a real estate agent by the end of March.

In its submission to the tribunal, the authority submitted that an appropriate penalty would be a fine between $6000 and $10,000 and costs to Mr Scott of $389 for trips to and from Omapere.

Goodhew submitted that no further action was an appropriate outcome as no adverse consequences arose from the careless descriptions of the property for sale and he's had an unblemished record as a real estate agent since about 1982.

He said Mr Scott did not describe access to the beach as his primary concern and that one could immediately see upon inspection of the property that access to the beach was not across the stream, but by foot.

Through his lawyer, he rejected the authority's suggestion that Mr Scott should be paid $389 for his travel expenses because there was no evidence of any special trips made to Omapere.

The tribunal acknowledged the breach by Goodhew was not the most serious of the unsatisfactory conduct charges. "However, it would be wrong to describe the unsatisfactory conduct as conduct which warranted a determination of no further action."

The lack of accuracy, it said, was significant and that Goodhew, being familiar with local custom and Maori land claims, should have taken more care to ensure the information he gave to Mr Scott was correct.

The tribunal was critical of Goodhew for not recognising his obligations that required a completely accurate picture of the land being purchased.

Goodhew will have to pay the fine and costs within 21 days.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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