Springvale estate agent faces permanent ban from industry

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3 April 2024
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The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria has warned real estate agents to comply with their trust account responsibilities or face serious legal consequences, as a Springvale agent faces being permanently banned from the industry for allegedly misusing rental bond money. 

Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Nicole Rich said agents would continue to be held to account, to uphold the interests of consumers and the reputation of the industry.  

We are taking disciplinary action against Xuan Sang Nguyen, alleging that he did not meet his professional obligations to act fairly, honestly and with due skill, care and diligence, and should be permanently disqualified from holding an agent’s licence. 

We allege that Nguyen, 69, director and officer in effective control of the now deregistered SN Newton Real Estate Pty Ltd (ACN 101 276 573), failed to meet a range of conduct and trust account management requirements under the Estate Agents Act 1980, including failing to pay property owners the rent payments he was receiving on their behalf from renters and not getting his trust accounts audited. 

“Everyone deserves to know money held in trust by real estate agents on their behalf is safe and secure,’’ Rich said.  

Rich said her agency would continue to focus on how agents manage their trust accounts. As well as being an offence in itself, mishandling trust money is often accompanied by wider failings by agents in meeting all their responsibilities.  

“Agents must manage their trust accounts as a priority. If they fail to meet their trust account obligations, or other responsibilities, we will take action,’’ she said. 

Trust account obligations are critical consumer protection measures, ensuring client money is safe when entrusted to an agent as part of a sale or rental transaction.  

Nguyen must appear at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 16 April for a directions hearing.