Multiple sanctions have been ordered against Elders Real Estate agent Robert Stephens of Clare for professional misconduct.
The Commissioner for Consumer & Business Services took action against Stephens after he sold a property to a company, whose sole director was a colleague of Stephens. This transaction was an offence under the Land Sales act, which requires an agent to seek permission of the commissioner in order to sell a property to a colleague, friend or family member.
Stephens also paid his colleague approximately 20% of his $5,863 commission in cash at the sale of the property, and did not advise his client of the payment, nor did he secure written authority to sell the property.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio argued in court that the misconduct was a serious matter.
Judge Joanne Tracey noted Stephen’s 20 years of experience and fined him $5,000, in addition to repaying the $5,863 commission to the vendor, and ordered to attend appropriate training courses involving ethics and identifying conflicts of interest.
Stephens was also barred from being a manager, supervisor or director of an agency for 6 months.
REISA CEO Greg Troughton said to SA Real Estate News in a statement:
“To be an Agent is a privilege and the professional and ethical conduct required should match that privilege.”
“It is always disappointing when an agent fails to meet the standard expected by the community. REISA will continue to strive for the highest level of ethical behaviour such that the community can have trust in the real estate profession. That is paramount.”
“I am also disappointed for those extremely hardworking real estate agents in SA that meet and exceed the expected community standard.”