Real estate agent sells wrong house

Real estate agent sells wrong house

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A Kelmscott real estate agency has been fined after selling the wrong property.

The error only came to light after the buyer had moved in and was informed during a call about her First Home Owners Grant that the lot number on her application did not match official records.

John O’Neil & Son Pty Ltd was fined $6,000 and ordered to pay $1,000 in costs by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for breaching the Real Estate and Business Agents and Sales Representatives Code of Conduct 2016 when it failed to exercise due care, diligence and skill during the preparation of a sales agreement.

The action related to two lots of adjacent, street front, strata-titled land in Camillo belonging to the same sellers.

The two certificates of title listed street addresses that did not match the physical street addresses of the lots.

During the preparation of a sale agreement in March 2022, the agency relied on the street address given by the seller to obtain the certificate of title and strata plan. The agency failed to notice that the lot on the purchased certificate of title did not correspond with the lot on the strata plan that was planned to be sold.

The mistake was not spotted during the sale and resulted in the certificate of title being issued in the buyer’s name for the wrong property.

The agency has apologised to the parties affected by this error and has also taken steps to ensure that the sales representative who has physically viewed the property correctly identifies it using more than just the certificate of title prior to preparing the Selling Agency Agreement or Contract of Sale.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said it was disappointing the error had not been picked up at any stage during the sale process.

“Mistakes of this nature are unacceptable and represent major breaches of the laws that are designed to protect both buyers and sellers of real estate in WA,” Ms Blake said.

“Agents must ensure that they have the proper procedures in place to prevent any errors being made which could result in disciplinary action.

“There was no way for the new homeowner to know they were being sold the wrong property, but buyers could put their mind at ease by asking their real estate agent whether they have properly checked the property information before signing a legally binding contract.”