An East Victoria Park real estate agency that failed to lodge 19 tenancy bonds on time was fined $18,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court on 18 September 2020.
Verse (Aust) Pty Ltd, trading as Verse Property, pleaded guilty to breaching the Residential Tenancies Act by failing to lodge with the Bond Administrator the 19 bonds from 16 properties it managed as soon as practicable, or in any event, within 14 days after receipt.
The offences occurred between September 2018 and March 2019 and the bonds were lodged, on average, 13 days late. The agency was also required to pay $684.15 in costs.
The properties being managed were in Queens Park, Bedford, St James, Kensington, Alfred Cove, Cannington, Beckenham, Bentley, Cloverdale, East Cannington and Kewdale.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said the agency fell way short of the industry standard of lodging bonds within 24 hours.
“While the law gives agencies up to two weeks to lodge the bonds, the vast majority do it on the next business day which is good business practice,” Ms Chopping said.
“To take almost a month is unacceptable because the longer it takes to lodge a bond, the greater the risk to the tenants’ money that is being held in trust.
“As proven by this case, failing to lodge bonds with the Bond Administrator on time can be costly in terms of financial penalties as well as loss of reputation. So it’s in every agent’s interest to ensure effective office systems are in place to facilitate the speedy lodgement of bonds.”
In March 2018, Verse Property was convicted of the same offences: Late bond lodgements result in $8,000 fine for real estate agency (Verse Property Group)