The return of an $8.25k bond on a commercial property was problematical because its payment was something that was been between the tenant and landlord directly.

However when Harper Irwin commenced proceedings in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, she did so against Corinda based Brisbane Prestige Property Developments, the managing agent for her commercial tenancy.

BPP appeared before the tribunal simply to notify it was not the proper respondent and had never held the bond. It also informed the tribunal of the identity of the owner, AGB Consolidated Pty LTD.

The Tribunal member who decided the original application ordered both parties – the agent and the owner – to refund the bond.

Presumably because of difficulties recovering funds from AGB, Irwin demanded her reimbursement from BPP who was compelled to file an appeal.

The matter came on appeal before QCAT senior member Peta Stilgoe who ruled that her colleague at first instance had got it wrong.

In accord with common law principles, “Agents are only personally liable for the acts of a principal if the agent fails to disclose the principal’s identity”, she ruled.

In this instance AGB’s identity had been fully disclosed and the naming of the agency in the QCAT complaint was the tenant’s error. The claim against the landlord should have been dismissed “without any further argument at that preliminary stage”.

Judge Stilgoe had no difficulty setting aside the order against BPP on the basis of her subordinate’s error. Irwin must continue her pursuit directly against the landlord if she is to have any hope of recovering her $8.25k bond.

Brisbane Prestige Property Developments Pty Ltd v Irwin [2015] QCATA 014 Senior Member Stilgoe OAM 02/02/2015


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