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12-08-2011

$30,000 fine for property finder “sets a clear precedent”

Landlords.co.nz

Property finder Dorien Forster has been fined $30,000 for acting without a license in a case Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) chief Keith Manch said “sets a clear precedent on the role of property finders.”

Manch said the level of fine handed out by the court was "quite a significant signal that if you're going to be doing this kind of stuff then you should be licensed."

Forster and her company Home Buyers were charged by the REAA of conducting real estate work without a license, with Judge Bruce Davidson saying in his sentencing notes that it was "abundantly clear" Forster and Home Buyers "were involved in a fairly comprehensive real estate agency service."

Forster told Landlords she was unwilling to comment too much on the case as her lawyers were still examining the written judgement.

"My lawyers are going through that at the moment and we're going to have a talk about whether we will or won't [appeal], that's why I'm saying I can't really comment."

She did say however, that "right now, this is not over."

One property finder Landlords spoke to - who wished to remain anonymous - was more forthcoming, especially on the size of the fine.

"Put it this way, the REAA has just charged two real estate agents who had a physical and verbal fight in front of a client $600 each, so people who are actually real estate agents and behave that unprofessionally, get a $600 hand slap."

They also believed the judgement would mark the start of an escalation in REAA activity against property finders.

"That's always been their intention. I imagine the REAA will want to ramp it up now and have a go at somebody else. I just think the fact they've charged her $30,000 - it's absolutely not fair."

The property finders comments seemed to be borne out by Manch.

"There will be more cases, no doubt, because whenever you've got a piece of law there'll be people looking for ways round it, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for not very good reasons," he said.

"People will be out there doing business and organising themselves in various ways, and if we get complaints we'll look at them and some will end up in court and some won't."

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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