Estate Agent penalised for breach of Practice Guidelines for Estate Agents and Salesperson Marketing Foreign Properties
Authors: Patrick Tan & Kaden Goh
Square Yards Singapore Pte Ltd (“Square Yards”) has been penalised by the Council for Estate Agencies for failing to provide a written advisory message to an investor to draw his attention to the risks involved in purchasing foreign properties.
In 2014, the investor bought a property in North Dakota in the United States for US$74,950 through Square Yards and subsequently paid a total sum of US$33,982.50 to the United States developer, North Dakota Developments LLC, before the developer was charged for alleged fraudulent activities. The investor has been unable to recover the monies paid thus far.
Square Yards was subsequently charged for breaching the Practice Guidelines for Estate Agents and Salespersons Marketing Foreign Properties (“PGMFP”) and the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (“CEPCC”) under the Estate Agents Act (Cap 95A), as estate agents must, under the PGMFP, “provide a written advisory message to the consumers that they must conduct due diligence, drawing their attention that risks are involved for foreign property consumers and that the transaction is subject to foreign laws, and to any changes in policies and rules in the country where the property is located.”
For its failure to provide the above written advisory message, Square Yards was imposed with a S$5,000 fine and is banned from marketing or transacting in any foreign property for 6 months with effect from 1 March 2017.
Written by: Patrick Tan & Kaden Goh