Estate agent Franks Property, sole director fined S$215,000 for unlicensed work

Property management company Franks Property and its sole director were on Wednesday (Dec 21) fined a total of S$215,000 for conducting unlicensed estate agency work, the largest fine meted out by a court for such an offence, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) said in a media release.

The company had carried out three property transactions without first being licensed as an estate agent. Its sole director and shareholder is Lim Koon Heng, 70, who had signed off on the invoices in question.

The CEA noted that Lim and/or Franks Property had previously held a house agent licence issued by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. After the CEA was formed in October 2010, all property agencies and agents had to be licensed and registered with the CEA to carry out estate agency work. Lim and Franks Property did not do so.

They were taken to court over three sale and purchase transactions in 2012 and 2013 – a home at Vanda Drive, a shophouse at Smith Street and a unit in Far East Shopping Centre. The transactions involved S$94,976.64 in total commission – the highest amount of commission collected among the unlicensed estate agency work cases that CEA has prosecuted.

Lim and Franks Property also faced six other charges each that were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing, CEA said.

Franks Property was fined S$115,000 and Lim, S$100,000, in default of 32 weeks’ imprisonment.

The punishment for each offence is a fine not exceeding S$75,000 or up to three years’ jail, or both, said CEA. In the case of a continuing offence, there could be a further fine of not more than S$7,500 for every day – or part thereof – during which the offence continues, after conviction.

The CEA also advised the public to choose property agents who are licensed and registered with the regulator. A public register of licensed entities and individuals is available on the CEA website.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 21 Dec 2016

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