Tribunal censures real estate agent

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 30/07/2014

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Prominent Queenstown real estate agent David Penrose has been censured by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal for unsatisfactory conduct over a commercial Frankton property deal.

In a decision released last week, Penrose, who works for Sotheby's International Realty, lost the latest round in the battle and was refused name suppression by the tribunal.

It went on to say that his actions fell "short of the standard that a reasonable member of the public is entitled to expect from a reasonably competent licensee".

Penrose found himself before the Real Estate Agents complaints committee last year when Dunedin businessman John Darling complained about the agent's actions after a company Darling owned with Christina Murphy, Anchorage Properties, listed a property at 180 Glenda Dr in Frankton for sale.

An agreement to sell the property in 2012 to a third party for $1.55 million was achieved but, before the settlement date, Penrose was contacted by the tenant claiming he paid $98,443 rent a year - not the $125,000 claimed by Darling, the decision said.

Penrose shared this information with the buyer but did not seek clarification from Darling.

In the tribunal's decision, Darling claimed the delayed settlement and drop in price cost his company $150,000.

Darling complained to the Real Estate Agents Authority and a decision released last month by the complaints committee found Penrose guilty of unsatisfactory conduct because he was late in supplying Darling's business with a signed agency agreement and did not provide a current market appraisal when listing the property.

He was censured and fined $2000, and an apology was accepted by the committee.

However, the committee took no further action on the complaint that Penrose spoke to the tenant and the purchasers of the property about the rent being paid, causing Darling's company to lose $150,000.

Darling appealed against the penalty and the decision to take no action on the third matter to the tribunal, which agreed that Penrose should have sought an explanation and clarification from Darling immediately on being told of the rent difference.

In the decision released last week, the tribunal said Penrose's failure to inform the appellant was unsatisfactory conduct and a breach of the 2009 rules.

The penalty imposed on Penrose would be decided after written submissions from each party.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • John Darling lists a property at 180 Glenda Drive with David Penrose
  • A $1.55m sale is agreed
  • The tenant at 180 Glenda Drive contacts Penrose claiming he pays $98,443 rent – not the $125,000 claimed by Darling
  • Penrose notifies the purchaser of the claimed discrepancy but believes it to be incorrect. He does not seek clarification from Darling. The purchaser demands a reduction in price
  • Darling is forced to sell at $1.4m – a loss of $150,000

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- The Southland Times

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