Karratha agent to pay $24,069 for late bonds and inaccurate records

Failing to lodge bonds on time and inaccurate record-keeping has resulted in a Karratha real estate agent being ordered to pay $24,069 in fines and costs by the Perth Magistrates Court.

Peard Real Estate Karratha collected bonds from six tenants in the Karratha region between September 2017 and January 2018, but failed to lodge them within 14 days as required by the Residential Tenancies Act. The agent was also convicted of five charges of inaccurate trust records relating to the dates of when the bonds were lodged.

Bond money collected from tenants in Pegs Creek, Baynton, Nickol and Bulgarra was up to two months late being lodged with the Bonds Administrator, however the agent’s records incorrectly showed the bonds as being lodged on time.

The company was fined $18,000 for late bond lodgements, $5,000 for inaccurate record-keeping, and required to pay a further $1,069 in costs.

In sentencing on 21 February 2020, Magistrate Randazzo said the penalty should reflect the need for general deterrence.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said there was no excuse for the late lodgement of bonds, especially given it can easily be done online.

“The Bond Administrator securely holds all bonds until both landlord and tenant agree on how much should be returned at the end of the tenancy,” Ms Chopping said.

“Two weeks is ample time for bond money to be transferred and it is crucial agents and all private lessors adhere to the legislation to ensure the tenant’s money is keep safe and secure.

“Failing to lodge bonds on time and inaccurate record-keeping about the dates they were lodged are very serious offences and this conviction should serve as a lesson to other agents that serious penalties await those who don’t comply.”

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