Consumer Affairs Victoria has issued 117 infringement notices amounting to $120,000 and official warnings to estate agents who failed to lodge their trust account audit reports for last year.
The statewide crackdown serves as a reminder of the importance of trust account audits, a critical protection measure that provides peace of mind to consumers handing their money over to agents.
While most agents manage trust money appropriately, those who don’t have their accounts audited or fail to lodge a copy of the report face penalties of up to almost $20,000.
Agents found to have spent trust money fraudulently for their own use can face penalties of up to $82,510, or up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
An estate agent must deposit any client money they receive in advance - including sales deposits, rent or fees for advertising and maintenance - into a trust account for safe keeping.
For more information on estate agent trust account responsibilities, visit Estate agents trust accounts.