Springvale estate agent’s representative fined $3,000 after buying client’s house without permission

A Springvale agent’s representative has been fined $3,000 and reprimanded after he and his wife bought a property that his employer was selling - without telling the client, his employer or authorities.

Michael Minh Le, who worked for MCDRE Springvale Pty Ltd, failed to get his client’s permission to buy the property.

He also failed to notify the director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, as required by the Estate Agents Act 1980 (the Act).

In its January 4 judgement VCAT found that Le "did not at all times act fairly and honestly" and “continued to act for his principal despite a conflict of interest, by continuing to act for the client and failing to inform his principal that the offer was from his wife”.

Le was fined $3,000 by Consumer Affairs Victoria having previously been reprimanded by VCAT on January 4 2011.

The agency returned its $10,460 commission to the client in December 2011 upon learning of Le’s actions.

The case dates back to March 2011, when the client engaged MCDRE Springvale to auction her property in Union Grove, Springvale.

She told the agency she required settlement within two months of the auction date - 16 April 2011 - as she had already bought another property.

Le supervised the open for inspections and attended the auction, which attracted only one bidder. The property had a reserve price of $570,000 but was passed in at $535,000.

After failing to buy the property at auction, the sole bidder made further offers of $540,000 and $550,000 with differing settlement terms. The client rejected these and the property remained for sale.

Le then gave the agency’s officer in effective control (OIEC) an offer of $523,000, without stating that it came from his wife. The OIEC passed this offer to the client, who accepted it on 29 April 2011 with an 'and/or nominee' clause.

Le and his wife became the registered owners of the property on 20 June 2011.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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