Mandurah real estate agent fined after failing to disclose sewerage issue

A Mandurah real estate sales representative has been cautioned and fined $1000 by the State Administrative Tribunal for failing to disclose important information regarding the sewerage of a home that he was selling.

Jonathon Kenny-Levick was the co-owner of his home in Dawesville that he put on the market in January 2016 through his agency as the listing representative.

At the time, the property was still on septic tanks even though a scheme sewerage connection was available.

The home was sold in March 2016 but the new owners were never formally advised that the Water Corporation was requiring the property to be connected to the scheme sewerage system and that they would need to connect at their own cost.

In November 2016 the Water Corporation advised the new owners that they had to arrange immediate connection, the cost being $3960.

Mr Kenny-Levick breached the Code of Conduct by not disclosing a material fact to potential buyers. He stated the failure was unintentional and has since taken steps to ensure it would not happen again.

Consumer Protection commissioner David Hillyard said it was essential for selling agents to find out all they can about a property and pass on any relevant information.

"Real estate agents are required to make all reasonable efforts to gather information about the properties they are selling and to disclose any important facts to the people who are considering whether to buy it," he said.

"Withholding relevant information that may affect a potential buyer's decision, even if it is unintentional, is a form of deception, so agents must be upfront with potential buyers.

"While it may not be possible to know everything about the property, especially if the owner doesn't reveal it, all known facts that may influence a potential buyer's decision must be disclosed."

More information on the obligations of real estate agents and sales representatives is available on the Consumer Protection website or inquiries can be made by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.