30 month ban for real estate sales rep over unfair and dishonest conduct (Olivia Murray)
A real estate sales representative who purported to work for a Wanneroo real estate agency after her employment had been terminated has been disqualified from applying for registration for two and a half years by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
Olivia Loretta Anne Murray was also ordered to pay costs of $4,000 after Consumer Protection took disciplinary action against her for breaching the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and the Code of Conduct. The SAT found she had failed to act fairly and honestly when dealing with a couple who were seeking someone to manage their Ellenbrook investment property in August 2014.
Despite her employment with the agency being terminated in February 2014, Ms Murray gave the home owners a business card and brochure of her former employer with the phone numbers crossed out and replaced by her personal mobile number. She falsely told the owners that the agency was merging so the contact details were changing, then instructed them to contact her using her personal mobile number and email address.
When completing the management authority form, Ms Murray crossed out the agency’s name and contact details, but retained the agency’s licence number. In the tenancy agreement, she omitted the bank account name and directed rent payments to be paid into her personal bank account.
Ms Murray had also failed on two occasions to declare a change of address as required by the Act.
The SAT stated: “The duty to act fairly and honestly is an important duty for those in the real estate industry and a serious failure to observe that duty warrants a significant penalty. The duty is enshrined not only in the Code of Conduct, but is reflected in the ‘fit and proper’ test which is applied to sales representatives, which includes a requirement of honesty.
“Ms Murray’s conduct involved a deliberate and calculated breach of proper professional and ethical standards of behaviour and that such conduct, which also involved serious dishonesty, must be addressed by a substantial penalty in order to maintain public confidence in the standards of the profession.”
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said honesty was a major criterion for being licensed or registered to work in the real estate industry in WA.
“This was a blatant case of dishonesty by Ms Murray which resulted in an income stream being diverted away from her former employer and demonstrated that she is not a fit and proper person to hold a registration,” Ms Lipscombe said.
Ms Murray’s registration expired in November 2016.
More information on the obligations of real estate agents, sales representatives and property managers is available on the Consumer Protection website: www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au or enquiries can be made by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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