Property agent fined $10,000, suspended for unethical conduct

A real estate agent was fined $10,000 for trying to get more commission out of his clients, acting against their interest and put out misleading advertisements about their property.

Benny Chua Cheng Thian, 54, was also given a six-month suspension and by the Council of Estate Agencies in February. According to a statement from the industry watchdog released on Friday, Chua is with leading property firm ERA Realty, and has been practising for about 17 years.

Chua had agreed with his clients on a 1 per cent commission if he were allowed to sell their property exclusively. However, he had asked his understudy to advertise the property to solicit buyers only, which would prevent more agents from sharing the earnings.

In addition, he had put out advertisements for the property with an incorrect block numbers to sieve out unrepresented buyers.

He also failed to disclose to his clients that it was his understudy who was representing the buyers, which would mean he would also get a portion of his understudy's commission.

For breaching the code of ethics, the disciplinary committee could have revoked his licence, or fined him up to $75,000.