Real estate scam victims' $25K fight
A couple who were sold an Auckland car park that belonged to someone else, by a now disgraced real estate agent, say they just want their $25,000 deposit back.
British-born Mike Burt and his wife Jilly, now resident in Cyprus, purchased the car park from real estate agent Janine Wallace who was the vendor but didn't actually own it.
She was recently found guilty of disgraceful conduct by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in relation to the car park.
She was also found guilty on two charges of misconduct for trading while unlicensed and for placing undue pressure on vendors over a commission agreement.
The Burts bought two apartments at Princes Wharf on Auckland's Quay St through Wallace.
In October 2007 they went to Wallace wanting to purchase an extra car park. They paid a $25,000 deposit to her which they have not yet had repaid.
Burt, a British Airways pilot, said he and his wife were pleased with the tribunal's findings but were less happy that he was still to be paid back the deposit and had paid legal bills of about $20,000 to date.
They plan to revisit New Zealand in September and will consider taking legal action then.
The couple, who have a daughter living here, still own the apartments.
Wallace said she would appeal the ruling, which she claimed to not know anything about until she was sent a copy this week.
She said she needed to talk to her lawyer first about that deposit and the tribunal's decision.
"There's a lot of points that were raised there that were incorrect."
Wallace's website New Zealand Properties is still operating and features several houses for sale and to rent. She can legally continue to practice until the tribunal hands down a penalty on the charges.
Real Estate Agents Authority chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith confirmed this was the case.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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