Unlicensed Real Estate Agent ‘should Have Known Better’

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Woman found guilty of representing herself as a real estate agent
  • Complaint to Consumer Protection uncovered illegal activity
  • Unlicensed operators undermine professional standards of the industry

An unlicensed real estate agent, who stopped paying rental income to her client, was convicted and ordered to pay more than $5,500 by the Joondalup Magistrates Court.

Phillipa Ann Ives was convicted and fined $2,800 for representing that she was a real estate agent, without actually holding a real estate and business agent’s licence, and triennial certificate. She was also ordered to pay costs of $3,020.70.

A complaint to Consumer Protection about issues with the management of a Butler property uncovered Ms Ives’ deception regarding her ability to act as a real estate agent.

Between April and December 2021, Ms Ives held herself out as a real estate agent in breach of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act. She entered into a verbal property management agreement with the property owner and signed up tenants to rent the Butler property.

Ms Ives received $24,000 of bond and rent into her personal bank account from which she paid herself a weekly management fee of $50 and paid rental income to the owner.

After a few months, she ceased paying rental income to the owner and did not repay the bond to the tenants or the owner at the conclusion of the tenancy.

In sentencing Ms Ives, Magistrate Raelene Johnston said there is a high need for general deterrence in the real estate industry.

By holding herself out as a real estate agent, Ms Ives represented herself as a person with the necessary qualification to manage properties on her own without being the holder of a licence or triennial certificate.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said, by being unlicensed, Ms Ives was undermining the industry’s professional standards and consumer trust in the industry.

“The licensing system is in place to protect tenants and landlords by ensuring that only suitably qualified and trained professionals are involved in the real estate industry in WA.

“Ms Ives should have known better. She had about 18 years of experience in the real estate industry as a sales representative and knew this conduct was illegal.

“Tenants and landlords should only deal with licensed professionals. If consumers deal with unlicensed operators, their money is at risk as they are not protected by the law.

“Tenants and landlords should alert us if they suspect the agent or property manager they are doing business with is not licensed.”

/Public Release. View in full here.