Gladstone property manager provides the OFT with fraudulent certificate
25 January 2017
An unlicensed property manager was ordered to pay $4,207 and disqualified from working in the real estate industry for three years by the Gladstone Magistrates Court today (25 January 2017), following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.
Michelle Ann Breytenbach, property manager for Alto Townhouses in Gladstone, was disqualified from the real estate industry for three years after she deliberately altered the expiry date on her real estate salesperson certificate and acted unlicensed.
The OFT’s investigation commenced following a proactive compliance check, where Ms Breytenbach was asked to present her real estate salesperson certificate.
The court heard Ms Breytenbach supplied OFT inspectors with a real estate salesperson certificate showing an expiry date of 1 August 2016. The expiry date was double-checked against data from the OFT’s internal systems, which showed her true licence expiry date to be 1 August 2015.
Ms Breytenbach deliberately used her fake real estate salesperson certificate to manage 38 properties between 2 March 2016 and 6 June 2016.
In sentencing, the court considered Ms Breytenbach’s intentionally deceitful behaviour, in addition to her lack of cooperation throughout the OFT’s investigation.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the real estate industry is licensed and regulated in order to protect consumers.
“Those working in the industry must be licensed in accordance with the law, and today’s result is testament to the fact this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated,” Mr Bauer said.
“The OFT will continue to conduct compliance checks throughout 2017 to ensure any abuse of trust by a property agent doesn’t continue as it undermines the integrity of the whole industry.”
The OFT conducts a series of proactive compliance operations each year, targeting malpractice in the real estate industry. Real estate agents and consumers may report suspected misconduct to the OFT by lodging a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.