Real estate agents left out key detail

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 12:25 28/11/2013

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Two Auckland real estate agents failed to inform a second language English speaker of more than $15,000 in levies when they sold her an apartment.

The Real Estate Agency Disciplinary Tribunal has found the conduct of Philip Davis and Hanok Shin was unsatisfactory when they failed to inform the buyer, known as Ms Liu, of the issues with the Mount Roskill property.

The Barfoot and Thompson agents were found to be acting in an unsatisfactory manner in a 2012 decision but appealed.

They failed to have the decision overturned but had their fines reduced from $6000 to $1000. Barfoot and Thompson were also fined $3500.

Ms Liu purchased the property at a mortgagee sale in 2011 but was not informed she would have to pay $15,767 in body corporate levies.

The tribunal found the agents' conduct in relation to this was not satisfactory.

"In this case there were known to be significant outstanding levies that would be the responsibility of the ultimate purchase, and thus significantly affect the ultimate price that they would pay," the decision said.

"In these circumstances this should have been drawn to the attention of the attendees at the auction."
 
A body corporate is an entity made up of all the unit owners in an apartment block.

Ms Liu also claimed she was not informed of a 90-day occupation restriction and believed she would be evicted after 90 days.

The tribunal was unsure of this claim and could not find anywhere where this had been recorded or enforced but found that potential buyers should have been informed that it might exist.

Shin and Davis received body corporate minutes which made reference to the possibility of the restriction and should have at least informed potential buyers to seek legal advice on the matter, the decision said.

"As the Tribunal has said before agents are not expected to be lawyers but must recognise when there is some deviation from normal or some matter which ought to be drawn to the attention of a potential purchaser."

It was the second decision against an Auckland Barfoot and Thompson agent in as many weeks.

Last week, Bruce England was found guilty of misconduct after he sold his own home without disclosing it required weather tightness recladding.

- This story has been corrected

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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