Failure to lodge three tenancy bonds on time has resulted in an East Perth real estate agency being reprimanded and fined $2,500 by the State Administrative Tribunal.
Tiapan Pty Ltd, trading as L.J. Hooker City Residential, agreed to the penalty during mediation after Consumer Protection initiated disciplinary action against the agency for breaches of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act and Code of Conduct.
The three offences relate to:
- Receiving a $1,600 bond for an East Perth unit in July 2019 which wasn’t lodged with the Bond Administrator until 35 days later;
- Receiving a $1,560 bond for a Northbridge unit in July 2019 which wasn’t lodged with the Bond Administrator until 28 days later; and
- Receiving an $860 bond for a Maylands unit in July 2019 which wasn’t lodged with the Bond Administrator until 27 days later.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the issue of late bond lodgements is a matter of some concern for the real estate industry regulator.
“By law, tenancy bonds must be lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as practicable or within 14 days at the very latest,” Mr Newcombe said.
“In these three cases, the bonds were lodged well outside the allowed timeframe and the agency has now suffered the consequences of these failures.
“In fact, the industry standard is to lodge bonds within 24 hours, so taking four or five weeks is unacceptable. The delay in lodging bonds increases the risk to what is essentially the tenant’s money that is being held in trust.
“All real estate agents and property managers should ensure these funds are processed quickly and that relevant staff are aware of their responsibilities.”