Estate agent sanctioned for distorting facts of sale

2017-06

Estate agents should act according to their clients’ instructions and should not commit misrepresentation to clients.

Otherwise, they might be subjected to disciplinary action by the Estate Agents Authority.

An estate agent arranged for the vendor and purchaser to enter into a provisional agreement of sale and purchase.

The day after signing the PASP, the agent asked the vendor whether the property was a “stigmatized flat” following an inquiry by the purchaser.

The vendor denied it was a “stigmatized flat” but told the agent that her son had committed suicide by jumping from the rooftop of the building.

The agent subsequently informed the vendor that the purchaser would like to terminate the transaction because of the suicide.

The agent also requested the vendor to refund the purchaser’s deposit and to pay him HK$10,000 as compensation.

However, the vendor’s solicitors later found out that the agent had told the purchaser that it was the vendor who would like to cancel the transaction – which was not the case.

Feeling aggrieved, the vendor then lodged a complaint with the EAA.

The EAA disciplinary committee took the view that the agent made a false representation to the purchaser that the vendor wished to rescind the transaction after the PASP was entered into.

Therefore, the agent breached paragraph 3.7.2 of the Code of Ethics which states: “Estate agents and salespersons should avoid any practice which may bring discredit and/or disrepute to the estate agency trade.”

The disciplinary committee decided to reprimand the agent. A condition was also attached to her license which required her to obtain 12 points from the Continuing Professional Development Scheme in 12 months. Her license was also suspended for two months.