Unlicensed property agent fined for illegally subletting rental flat

A HDB flat was repossessed and an unlicensed agent fined S$16,000 for an illegal real estate transaction that took place in 2012.

Jordan Goh Swee Thye, a 48-year-old Singaporean, will face six weeks’ imprisonment if he defaults on paying the fine after he was convicted and sentenced in court on Sep 10, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) said in a media release on Monday (Sep 15).

CEA investigations found that Goh had placed an advertisement on classifieds website Gumtree, offering a HDB flat at Block 92 Henderson Road for rent. The flat was a HDB rental flat, for which subletting is not allowed.

Goh conducted the viewing and assisted in the negotiation of the monthly rental amount between the main tenant and the subtenant, which was agreed at S$1,200 per month from February 2012 to February 2013. The unlicensed estate agent collected S$600 each from the tenant and subtenant, despite being aware that it was a HDB rental flat and it was not supposed to be tenanted out, CEA said.

HDB subsequently took action against the main tenant and repossessed the flat in June 2012 after it was discovered the flat had been illegally sublet. As the subtenant could not occupy the flat, he reported the matter to CEA. He also could not recover the rental deposit from the main tenant and his commission from Goh.

Said the council: “Goh had knowingly performed estate agency work even though he was not licensed with CEA. The consequences of his action were severe, including the repossession of the HDB flat.”

Consumers are advised to engage only estate agents and salespersons licensed or registered with CEA.They can check if a person is licensed on the public register at www.cea.gov.sg. For online advertisements, consumers can check if the person who posted is a licensed agent as they are to include their licence and registration numbers, the council said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Sep 2014

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