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Kelmscott real estate agent fined for selling the wrong property to Perth buyer

A West Australian homeowner discovered her real estate agent sold her the wrong property after moving in to what she thought was her new home.

The buyer was shocked when she received a call about her first homeowners grant application to be told the lot number on her application did not match official records.

Two co-owners were selling one of two lots of adjacent, street front, strata-titled land in Camillo, near Kelmscott in Perth’s southeast.

The issue arose as the two certificates of title listed street addresses that did not match the physical addresses of the lots.

The sellers wished to sell Lot 2, which had a physical address of 6A, while Lot 1 was 6B.

Lot 1 was occupied by tenants and not intended to be sold.

However, during the preparation of the sale agreement in March 2022, agency John O’Neil & Son relied on the street address given by the seller to obtain the certificate of title and strata plan.

John O’Neil & Son failed to notice the purchased certificate of title listed Lot 1 as 6A, which did not correspond with the lot on the strata plan that was planned to be sold.

The buyer then viewed Lot 2, intending to purchase that property

The mistake was not spotted during the sale and resulted in the certificate of title being issued in the buyer’s name for the wrong property.

The buyer then became the legal owner of Lot 1 rather than Lot 2, but moved into the home on Lot 2.

It was only when she received the call about her first homeowner grant that the issue came to light.

The agency apologised to the buyer and confidentially settled the matter with her.

It said it has since implemented a more thorough process of reviewing relevant searches before the sale of a property to ensure it does not happen again.

John O’Neil & Son was ordered to pay $7,000 in fines and court costs after the State Administrative Tribunal found the agency failed to exercise due care, diligence or skill by not conducting proper checks to confirm which lot number was being sold, before the sale going through.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Trish Blake said it was disappointing the error was not picked up at any stage during the sale process.

“Mistakes of this nature are unacceptable and represent major breaches of the laws that are designed to protect both buyers and sellers of real estate in WA,” Blake said on Thursday.

“Agents must ensure they have the proper procedures in place to prevent any errors being made which could result in disciplinary action.

“There was no way for the new homeowner to know they were being sold the wrong property, but buyers could put their mind at ease by asking their real estate agent whether they have properly checked the property information before signing a legally binding contract.”

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