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21 October 2015

The state’s consumer watchdog is issuing a strong warning to South Australian real estate agents to ensure they are meeting their trading requirements after a registered company allegedly engaged in unlawful conduct.

Inspections by Consumer and Business Services (CBS) officers identified JK Adelaide Property Group Pty Ltd trading as Harcourts Kiritsis Property had acted on behalf of a vendor without authorisation after not correctly meeting contractual requirements.

As a result of the inspections, JK Adelaide Property Group, and Mr Jonathon Kiritsis, the sole director and company secretary of the business, were found likely to have breached their obligations under the Land and Business (Sales and Conveyancing) Act 1994 and the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio, said this is a prime example of a business being caught not doing their due diligence, and not meeting their compliance obligations.

“Further monitoring of the business also found an employee performing duties consistent with that of a sales representative despite not being registered under the Land Agents Act 1994,” he said.

“While these offences are proper cause for disciplinary action both against JK Adelaide Property Group and Mr Kiritsis, due to the nature of breaches and the cooperation provided to CBS with its investigation, on this occasion we have accepted a formal written Assurance from the JK Adelaide Property Group and Mr Kiritsis.” The Assurance states that they will refrain from engaging in specified unlawful conduct.
Further, Mr Kiritsis has given an Assurance that he will undertake additional training to ensure future compliance with the law.

A written Assurance is a formal undertaking that in certain circumstances, may be used in place of disciplinary action. A trader who fails to comply with an Assurance accepted by the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs could be liable to prosecution and may be found guilty of an offence under section 81 of the Fair Trading Act 1987.

In addition to the Assurance provided, a formal warning has been issued against the employee.

Commissioner Soulio said “Breaches such as these are taken seriously”.

“CBS is committed to ensuring all consumers have fair and honest dealings with those working in the South Australian real estate industry”.

“We will continue to perform random inspections of registered businesses and individuals to stamp out unlawful behaviour.”

For more information about the registration requirements of real estate agents in SA please visit: cbs.sa.gov.au