Door closes on unlicensed real estate agent
8 October 2018
A Hope Island resident was fined $15,000 and ordered to pay compensation of $16,750 in the Southport Magistrates Court today (8 October 2018) after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for acting as a real estate agent after his licence was cancelled due to bankruptcy.
Richard Lucas Bomhof pleaded guilty to two charges, one of acting as a real estate agent while unlicensed, and one of dishonestly converting trust account money received from a consumer under the Property Occupations Act 2014.
Mr Bomhof was fined $15,000 and ordered to pay a total of $16,750 to one affected consumer.
The court heard Mr Bomhof was a licensed real estate agent from 9 February 2006 to 2 August 2017. His licence was cancelled after he entered into bankruptcy under an order from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
On 24 September 2017, Mr Bomhof was employed at a real estate agency and worked to negotiate the sale or leasing proposal for a client’s newsagency and supermarket business.
On 16 January 2018, Mr Bomhof advised the client he would no longer be working for the agency but would continue to work with the client to achieve the sale or lease of his business.
The agency terminated Mr Bomhof’s employment on 29 January 2018 but he continued to work with the client, including asking the client to pay an advance on his commission into his personal bank account to cover ongoing service costs.
The client terminated Mr Bomhof’s services on 4 March 2018 after he found out Mr Bomhof was unlicensed.
Between 16 January 2018 and 4 March 2018 Mr Bomhof received a total of $16,750 in pre-paid commission into his own bank account, which he used for personal expenses.
In sentencing, Magistrate Finger took into account Mr Bomhof’s guilty plea and bankruptcy and described his behaviour as serious misconduct which was flagrantly intentional.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said people operating in the real estate industry needed to take licensing laws seriously.
“Large sums of money change hands in property transactions, so it is vitally important that agents are honest when dealing with clients.” Mr Bauer said.
“The verdict handed down in today’s case is a reminder that agents must act fairly and lawfully.”
Consumers are encouraged to report unlawful practices in the property industry by making a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).