Negotiating home sales after his real estate licence renewal application had lapsed, has resulted in an industry ban for a Gold Coast real estate agent.
Graeme Grimsey who operated State Invest Property Services from premises in George Street, Beenleigh suffered two strokes and spent 5 months in hospital from July to November 2008.
His son Damien stepped in to help, taking on the role of negotiating for the buying, selling and/or letting of property for and on behalf of residential clients on the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Morayfield and Brisbane.
He eventually obtained his own licence in February 2009 and in October that year opened up his own agency at Burleigh. At the same time his father signed over the business name to him.
In the course of a routine renewal application in May 2011, he was asked to submit his trust account audit reports. When these were not provided, his renewal application was deemed “withdrawn”.
Meanwhile the Office of Fair Trading placed the former Beenleigh business into the receivership – out of which claims to the extent of $290k arose against the PAMD fidelity fund.
As a result that investigation, Damien’s ongoing operations – notwithstanding the expiration of his licence – were revealed.
He initially contended his role was confined to maintenance and administration and that his father, despite his illness, maintained “effective control”.
His operation was also placed into receivership by the OFT – who argued his actions amounted to impersonation of a licensed agent – but only one irregularity was discovered.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member David Paratz would have “exercised leniency for the actions of a son mistakenly trying to help his father and trying to keep his business afloat at a difficult time,” if that was his only transgression.
But the single discrepancy found by investigators – his receipt of a landlord’s insurance payment for storm repairs of $7.6k for which he was able to recruit a different contractor to conduct the repairs for less than $2k – demonstrated he had “a significant lack of knowledge of the rules of procedure is required of real estate agent, or a disregard for them”.
In addition to the seven year industry ban, Grimsey was fined $5k and ordered to account to his landlord for the excess insurance payout he had received on that landlord’s behalf.