Unlicensed real estate 'adviser' in court
A Gore man has been found guilty of carrying out real estate work without a licence.
The Gore District Court said Ewen McLeod charged a couple $500 for helping to sell their home which they had tried to sell privately.
McLeod placed his phone number on an advertisement for the property. In November last year he was contacted by prospective buyers whom he showed through the property, and in December he ran an open home there.
He told an investigator from industry regulatory body the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) that around November he had begun writing to vendors selling properties privately, providing information on different marketing methods.
For a $500 fee, he said he would advise vendors on advertising, take purchasers through by appointment and would negotiate on behalf of vendors with potential buyers, draw up sales and purchase agreements and deliver them to solicitors.
McLeod claimed his services were no more than the provision of general advice and that he did not act on their behalf to bring about a sale.
He argued that he charged a flat fee which was not dependent on a sale, which differed from real estate agents who took a commission.
McLeod also said his activities were no different from those used by Green Door, which provides services to property vendors and is not governed by the Real Estate Agents Act.
Judge Phil Moran rejected his arguments and said that what McLeod was doing amounted to real estate work.
While the Act allows owners to sell their own property and receive assistance to do so, the moment the service provider begins dealing with potential buyers to bring about a sale, he or she is performing real estate work.
McLeod's reliance on the activities of Green Door was misplaced, the judge said; their advertisements carefully confine their services to assisting owners to sell their own properties.
McLeod was found guilty, and would be convicted and fined at a later date.
Real Estate Agents Authority chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said the intent of the Real Estate Agents Act was to protect consumers and give them confidence in real estate agency work.
"Unlicensed trading is a serious offence and a key area of focus for us so we are very pleased with this decision," he said. "Mr McLeod was breaking the law . . . and his clients would not have had any comeback through the REAA's complaints process."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Your club information portal, post or view your sports fixtures, results and general information.
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.
Buy copies of photos featured in The Southland Times.