Perth Century 21 branch the latest to be fined $8,000 for late bond lodgements

A Perth estate agency trading as a Century 21 office has become the fourth company to be fined recently for taking too long to lodge a number of tenants’ bonds with the WA Bond Administrator.

Maida Vale-based Dalefin Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Century 21 Eastbelle Realty, took on average, three months to lodge 14 security bonds totalling more than $22,000. Some bonds were not lodged until more than four months after they were received.

It is the second WA estate agency in less than a week to be fined for this offence.

Dalefin Holdings was fined $8,000 after pleading guilty in the Midland Magistrates Court on 23 May 2013 to 14 charges of failing to lodge bonds ‘as soon as practicable’ as required by the Residential Tenancies Act.

The Court also ordered the agency to pay legal costs of $275.

Last week Bunbury property management company Just Property Management (WA) Pty Ltd was fined $10,000 for late bond lodgement.

Lawyers for WA’s Consumer Protection told the Court that Dalefin Holdings had taken, on average, three months to lodge 14 security bonds totalling more than $22,000.

The bonds were collected between October 2011 and February 2012 and, in some cases, were not lodged until more than four months after they were received. The agency had received formal warnings on two previous occasions.

Three other companies have been recently fined for similar breaches:

  • A real estate agency was fined $15,000 in December 2011 over 51 late lodgements that were 17 to 72 days late
  • A real estate agency was fined $10,000 in April 2013 over 27 late lodgements that were, on average, 38 days late
  • A property management company was fined $10,000 earlier this month over 37 late lodgements that were 17 to 46 days late

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said real estate agencies and property managers need to review their office procedures to ensure speedy lodgement of bonds.

“It’s essential that tenants’ funds are safe and secure and lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as possible. Taking many weeks or even months to do so is unacceptable and is a breach of the law,” she said.

“The appropriate lodgement and security of tenant’s bond moneys is an issue that Consumer Protection takes seriously. Agents and property managers need to keep their business in order so they don’t run the risk of being prosecuted.”

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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