Real Estate Agents warned

The Real Estate Agents Authority has issued a warning that agents need to take serious measures to avoid conflicts of interest.

It comes after the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the Disciplinary Tribunal’s finding of unsatisfactory conduct in a case involving two agents at Barfoot & Thompson.  They viewed, as part of a “team viewing”, a house that had been listed with Barfoot & Thompson through one of their colleagues and decided to buy it. Having completed the purchase, they received a portion of the listing agent’s commission.

In the same proceeding, a second complaint was made against two different agents under similar circumstances. The vendor had failed to sell her property after four months on the market and was made an offer by two agents at Barfoot & Thompson. The vendor claimed she waspressured to sell to them.

Barfoot & Thompson’s own internal policy provides that if an agent is interested in a property, the agent can deal directly with the vendor. The Court held, however, that Barfoot & Thompson’s internal policy leaves the client in the hands of someone who has a very real conflict of interest. Further, the agents may have access to information the ordinary vendor would reasonable assume to be confidential.

Read the judgment here