A real estate agent has been found guilty of disgraceful conduct after she did a deal for free haircuts in exchange for allowing a horse to graze on someone else's land without permission.

The New Zealand Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal has found retired Warkworth agent Karen Phillips guilty of disgraceful conduct and fined her $500 for arranging a horse to graze on Joanne Harvey's land without her knowledge.

Phillips' deal with her hairdresser was that in exchange for free haircuts plus $20 a week, she would be able to graze a horse on the land owned by Harvey.

Harvey was allegedly first contacted by Phillips when the real estate agent had asked permission for horses to graze on her block of land. She declined the offer but was surprised to later find out that a horse was indeed on her land.


At the Tribunal hearing Phillips agreed with the evidence given by her hairdresser and Harvey. However, she did say she had not previously asked Harvey for permission to graze horses.

She said she first contacted Harvey to "ask whether it would be permissible for her three or four cattle to graze temporarily on the property."

Phillips told the Tribunal that "at the time that she was under significant pressure because she was recently widowed and trying to keep her farm together."

The Tribunal decided that Phillips actions were that of disgraceful conduct but was satisfied that she was "apologetic" and had returned the money paid to her by the hairdresser.

"For these factors we consider that reasonable members of the public and agents of good standing would consider the conduct as disgraceful conduct. The Tribunal considers that Ms Philips' unauthorised use of another's property for her own gain is disgraceful conduct."

The decision took in to consideration that Phillips had since retired.

Read the full decision here: