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Former Sunshine Coast realtor fined and banned from industry

10 May 2018

A Sunshine Coast woman was fined $25,000 and banned from the real estate industry for ten years by the Caloundra Magistrates Court after charges were brought by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for breaches of the Property Occupations Act 2014.

Elizabeth Anne Provan, sole director and former Principal Licensee of Dicky Beach Real Estate Pty Ltd, was found guilty of wrongfully converting trust money and acting as an unlicensed property agent.

A conviction was recorded against Ms Provan, who did not appear in court.

The court heard the OFT began investigating Dicky Beach Real Estate Pty Ltd and Ms Provan in August 2017 after receiving a number of complaints from consumers. The OFT investigation identified that between January 2017 and July 2017, $46,793 of rent money received by the real estate agency was dishonestly converted to Ms Provan’s own use and was not disbursed to the rightful owners.

During this period Ms Provan also advised a number of tenants to deposit their rent money into another bank account – her personal account, not the agency’s trust account.

Ms Provan failed to contact any of the agency’s clients or engage with the OFT.

In sentencing, the court considered Ms Provan’s breach of trust, lack of remorse, and failure to cooperate with the OFT investigation.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said agents who do not abide by the required legislation have no place in the property industry.

“The OFT will take action against real estate agents who put consumers at financial risk by disregarding their legal obligations,” Mr Bauer said.

More information on obligations of real estate salespeople in Queensland is available on the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.