A Whanganui real estate agent who repeatedly muffed paperwork has been censured and ordered to do a course on contract law.
The Real Estate Agents Authority complaints assessment committee said Pearse Kinchella of Hoquard Realty, trading as Ray White, demonstrated an extremely poor understanding of basic contract requirements.
It found it extraordinary that Mr Kinchella did not think it was necessary for an agent to do a title search.
The ruling followed a complaint from a family trustee who listed a property with Mr Kinchella.
When a buyer pulled out of a subsequent deal lawyers found the incomplete contracts were unenforceable.
The committee said the listing authority was barely legible and omitted basic information including the area of property and the correct title reference.
The first sales agreement was undated, was amended by a third party after it had been signed and also had an incorrect title reference. A second sales agreement was undated, not signed by all vendors and also had incorrect title reference.
A competent and diligent agent would have done a title search when the property was first listed.
The contract was unenforceable primarily because of the agent's failure to obtain a title search and correctly complete the listing agreement.
The licensee's preparation of the listing agreement and the first and second sale and purchase agreement were far below the skill, care, competence and diligence expected of an estate agent and amounted to unsatisfactory conduct.
Mr Kinchella said the decision ''was harsh as I did all I could possibly do.''
There was no requirement for agents to carry out title searches and it was extraordinary that the committee had criticised him for that.
As for the criticism of the paperwork he said the sale and purchase agreements were not dated or signed as they never got past the point where they were offers, said Mr Kinchella.
''I find the whole thing very tiring. It's been going on for 18 months.''
- The Dominion Post