Property agent with expired licence gets $72k fine

A man has been fined $72,000 for conducting estate agency work without being registered as a property agent with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

Disclosing this in a news release, the CEA said Lim Ruiwen, 31, was convicted in court yesterday on nine charges and will be jailed for 27 weeks if he fails to pay the fine.

Lim had posted nine advertisements for the rental of Housing Board flats and private properties on public online property portals between January and March 2017 despite not being registered with the CEA.

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

Lim had acted as a salesperson for Global Alliance Property without being registered.

He was a property agent from January 2011, and was with Global Alliance between Jan 1, 2016, and Dec 31, 2016.

Lim's registration expired after Dec 31, 2016, as he did not submit an application to CEA through a property agency to renew his registration as a property agent for 2017.

His services were also terminated by Global Alliance at the end of 2016, CEA said.

The advertisements that Lim posted included his name, photograph, mobile number, previous CEA registration number, as well as Global Alliance's name and CEA licence.

The court took into consideration 43 other similar charges against Lim during sentencing.

He had posted advertisements on other public property portals to advertise the lease of other HDB flats and private properties.

Each offence carried a fine of up to $25,000, up to 12 months' jail, or both.

CEA yesterday advised consumers to engage only licensed and registered property agencies or agents to assist them with their transactions. They can verify this via the public register on the CEA website.

Should they encounter anyone performing unlicensed and unregistered estate agency work, they should report the person to the CEA by calling 1800-643-2555 or e-mailing feedback@cea.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'Property agent with expired licence gets $72k fine'. Print Edition | Subscribe