VCAT fines Frank Valentic's Advantage Property Consulting

VCAT fines Frank Valentic's Advantage Property Consulting
VCAT fines Frank Valentic's Advantage Property Consulting

A Melbourne estate agency and its director have been fined a total of $7,000 over the agency’s poor conduct in the sale of a four-unit development in Malvern.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has also ordered, with the consent of the parties, that estate agent, Frank Valentic, 46, of Elwood, have his estate agents licence suspended for six months, starting from 1 April 2016.

Mr Valentic is sole Director and Officer in Effective Control of Advantage Property Consulting Pty Ltd, which provides buyers' advocate services.  

Advantage Property has also been ordered to begin a three-year compliance, education and training program to ensure it complies with the Estate Agents Act 1980 and the Estate Agents (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2008. 

Consumer Affairs Victoria took action against Mr Valentic and Advantage Property following a complaint from a purchaser of one of the units.

Its action alleged that:

  • purchasers were assured that they would have exclusive access to part of a courtyard that was actually common property, despite this needing to be agreed to by the owners corporation after the settlement
  • Mr Valentic twice entered a tenanted unit without the tenant’s knowledge or consent that the inspections were taking place
  • Mr Valentic appointed Advantage Property as owners corporation manager even though he had no authority to make that appointment
  • Advantage Property charged two purchasers a ‘consulting fee’ of $13,750 for services that should have been better described to them
  • Advantage Property instructed purchasers to backdate legal documents
  • Advantage Property required purchasers to use a particular solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work.

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Simon Cohen said this was a good outcome that highlighted that the regulator would pursue unprofessional conduct by estate agents.

“Victorians need to be able to trust that buyers advocates are acting in their best interests and not engaging in conduct that is motivated by self interest,” Mr Cohen said.

“The actions of Mr Valentic were reprehensible and designed to put the purchasers of these properties at a disadvantage, while profiting from his actions.”

Tags: 
VCAT Estate Agent

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