A Footscray real estate agent‘s licence has been suspended for two months after he contravened the Estate Agents Act 1980 by underquoting on four properties.
Consumer Affairs Victoria began proceedings against Wayne Sweeney and Associates (Footscray) Pty Ltd, its director, Dean Anthony Johnson and another agent, Darren James Dean, in 2010.
In March 2011, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) made orders against Mr Johnson and the company, finding they had breached the Act bymaking statements while marketing the property stating price estimates that were less than the lower limit agent's estimate set out in the written engagements provided to vendors.
VCAT also found that Mr Johnson was not a fit and proper person to hold a real estate agent’s licence. The tribunal cancelled his licence and banned him from applying for a new one for two years.
Mr Johnson successfully appealed the findings against him to the Supreme Court, which found that VCAT had acted beyond its jurisdiction and in breach of natural justice.
The Supreme Court set aside VCAT’s decision in relation to Mr Johnson and remitted the matter to VCAT.
In 20 March 2012, VCAT determined that Mr Johnson had contravened s47C(2) of the Act in relation to the sales of four properties – three in Yarraville and one in Maidstone.
Mr Johnson was ordered to pay a penalty of $5000 to the Victorian Property Fund which has now been paid.
VCAT reprimanded Mr Johnson and also ordered that:
- his estate agents licence be suspended for two months from 23 May 2012
- he provide audit reports to the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria to show compliance with the Act, every six months for the next two years.
Mr Dean was previously reprimanded and ordered to pay a $2000 penalty to the Victorian Property Fund, and Wayne Sweeney and Associates (Footscray) Pty Ltd ordered to pay a $5000 penalty.