The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has affirmed a decision by the a delegate of the Secretary of the Department of Justice to refuse a company’s application for $31,000 compensation from the Victorian Property Fund.
Anfastar Pty Ltd applied for the compensation from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF) following a dispute over a deposit it paid in relation to a 2006 contract with two companies.
The claim stated that the two companies had agreed to build a child care centre in Fairfield, which would then be leased by Anfastar, which paid a $26,666 deposit to an estate agent for those companies. However, Anfastar complained in 2007 about slow progress in building and then terminated the contract.
In 2010, Anfastar sent letters to the estate agent, demanding that the builders pay back the deposit. Shortly after this, the estate agent died.
In early 2012, Anfastar made a claim on the VPF, alleging that it had suffered a loss due to a defalcation by the estate agent and that sought compensation. A delegate of the Secretary to the Department of Justice refused this application.
At the VCAT hearing to review the delegate’s decision, Anfastar argued that there was no finalised contract between it and the builder, and the estate agent held the deposit as a ‘holding deposit’ and must repay it.
VCAT rejected the argument, ruling that the August 2006 contract was a finalised agreement and the deposit was paid to the estate agent as an agent for the builder. Accordingly, it found that any loss suffered by Anfastar was not caused by the estate agent, but by the builder.
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