Crawford Realty of South Hedland has been fined $9,500 and ordered to pay costs of $970 for the late lodging of customer bonds with the Bond Administrator.
The company pleaded guilty on February 28 to 21 charges of failing to lodge bonds “as soon as practicable” as required by the Residential Tenancies Act at the time of the offences.
The Act was changed on July 1, 2013, to require agents to lodge bonds as soon as practicable and within 14 days of receipt.
Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the Court that Crawford Realty had taken between 15 and 60 days to lodge 21 security bonds totalling more than $170,000.
The bonds were collected between March and August 2012.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said real estate agents and property managers need to review their office procedures to ensure speedy lodgement of bonds.
“It’s essential that tenants’ funds are safe and secure and lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as possible,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Taking many weeks or even months to do so is unacceptable and is a breach of the law.”
“The appropriate lodgement and security of tenant’s bond moneys is an issue that Consumer Protection takes seriously.
“Agents and property managers need to keep their business in order so they don’t run the risk of being prosecuted.”
Real estate agents, property managers, landlords and tenants can find more information on bonds on the Consumer Protection
Real estate agents, property managers, landlords and tenants can find more information on bonds on the Consumer Protection website.