Man convicted and fined $72,000 for unregistered estate agency work

A 31-year-old man was convicted in Court on Wednesday (3 April) for nine charges of holding himself out to the public as being a property agent without being registered as such with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

According to the agency, Lim Ruiwen had posted nine advertisements for the rental of HDB and private properties on publicly accessible online property portals between January and March 2017, despite being unregistered.

Lim was then sentenced to a fine totalling $72,000, in default of 27 weeks’ imprisonment. The Court also took into consideration 43 other similar charges of Lim holding out as a property agent to the public when he was not a registered agent in sentencing.

Under the Estate Agents Act (EAA), it is an offence for entities and/or individuals to act or hold out as estate agents and/or salespersons in any property transaction if they are not licensed or registered with the CEA.

In Court, Lim pleaded guilty and was convicted for a total of nine charges under Section 29(1)(a) of the EAA for holding himself out to the public as a salesperson for Global Alliance Property Pte Ltd, without being registered as a salesperson.

Lim was a former agent since January 2011 and was most recently with Global Alliance between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016.

However, his registration expired after 31 December 2016 as he did not submit an application to CEA through a property agency to renew his registration as a property agent for 2017. He was also terminated by Global Alliance after 31 December 2016.

He was therefore no longer a registered agent after 31 December 2016.

Investigations revealed that between January 2017 and March 2017, Lim had posted nine advertisements, each advertising a different HDB or private property for rent, on an online property portal.

In all the advertisements, Lim held himself out as a registered agent of Global Alliance when he was not. The advertisements included his name, photograph, mobile number, previous CEA registration number, as well as Global Alliance’s name and CEA licence number.

The punishment for an offence under Section 29(1)(a) of the EAA is a fine not exceeding $25,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

Consumers who choose to have a property agent to assist them in their property transactions should only engage property agencies and agents who are licensed and registered with the CEA respectively. The public can verify whether an entity or individual is licensed or registered with the CEA via the Public Register on the CEA website.

The agency also encourages members of the public to report those who perform unlicensed estate agency work or are unregistered agents to the CEA at 1800-6432555 or [email protected]

Consumers can visit CEA website for more information on engaging a professional and effective property agency and agent, and for tips to work harmoniously with a property agent for their property transaction.

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