In the latest case, a PropNex agent was suspended and fined $6,000 for flouting the rules when representing an elderly couple in the sale of their HDB flat. (Photo: CEA)
UPDATED: For violating the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (CEPCC), the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has suspended PropNex Realty property agent Ng Ser Leong and imposed a fine of $6,000.
CEA’s disciplinary committee imposed these penalties after the 44-year-old agent flouted two provisions under the CEPCC while representing an elderly couple in their 80s in the sale of their HDB flat.
First, it was found out that Ng failed to verify if the female seller was fully aware of the transaction’s consequences, as she is illiterate and suffers from an advanced stage of dementia.
Under the CEPCC, estate agents must conduct their business and work with due diligence. But Ng neglected doing this when he failed to ascertain the consent of the person afflicted with dementia, who is considered a vulnerable client under the CEA’s professional service manual as they are unable to make rational decisions on a property transaction.
Second, it was discovered that Ng obtained the female seller’s thumbprints on the option to purchase, an estate agency agreement, and an exclusive estate agency agreement. However, important information on these documents were left blank such as the purchase price, option date and the name of the buyer.
Under the CEPCC, agents “must not ask or procure anyone to sign an agreement in which essential or material terms or information such as the property address, price, dates, names, and commission payable have been omitted or the relevant space for such terms or information is left blank or unfilled”.
The case only came to light after the elderly couple’s children found out about the impending sale of the flat when the male seller was hospitalised, and the transaction was subsequently aborted.
For violating the rules on having someone sign documents with missing key information and for breaching rules on due diligence, Ng was suspended for four months and seven months respectively. Each violation also comes with a fine of $3,000.
The suspension periods will run concurrently from 19 October 2017.