The director of a former Boronia estate agency has been declared ineligible to hold an estate agent’s licence, or be an estate agent’s representative for five years, after he admitted to knowingly authorising and permitting the agency to convert trust money to its own use.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that Michael Knight, 49 breached the Estate Agents (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2008 by failing to:
- act to the best of his knowledge and ability in the performance of his functions as an estate agent; and
- exercise all due skill, care and diligence in performing his functions as an estate agent.
The tribunal found that the company Michael Knight Real Estate Pty Ltd contravened the Estate Agents Act 1980 by:
- depositing trust money directly into the agency’s business account for its own use three times
- causing a deficiency in the trust account by withdrawing trust money prior to property settlement a further three times
- not completing a number of monthly trust account reconciliations, or completing them incorrectly
- failing to have the agency’s trust account audited following the 2013-2014 financial year.
The tribunal made the following orders with the consent of the parties:
- a reprimand; and
- a declaration that Mr Knight be ineligible to hold a real estate agent’s licence, or to be an agent’s representative for five years.
Mr Knight also gave an undertaking to the tribunal that he would:
- never apply for, or otherwise seek to hold, another estate agent’s licence; and
- notify any estate agent that employs him in the future that he has been the subject of a tribunal order and to provide any future employer with a copy of those orders.
Michael Knight Real Estate Pty Ltd was also reprimanded and declared ineligible to hold a real estate agent’s licence for five years
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