A former property manager at a Perth real estate agency has been fined $10,000 for deceiving tenants into paying more than necessary for their rent.
Josephine Wei-Wei Liau pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court last week to 16 charges over a two-year period.
The offences related to misrepresentations she made as an employee of the agency and after she left it in January 2011.
Consumer Protection said Liau had advised property owners in the Perth suburbs of Yangebup and Mount Pleasant that she was representing the agency, and used its logo in statements sent to the owners.
She misrepresented to owners the amount of rent that was being paid. The Mount Pleasant tenant was paying $950 a week, while the owner believed it was only $800.
The Yangebup tenant was paying $380 a week, while the owner was advised it was $350.
When that tenant’s rent was later increased to $400, the owner was not told.
In both cases, Liau kept the difference and when she was confronted by the owners, she returned the rental income owed.
Liau made a similar misrepresentation regarding a water bill for a property in Willetton, Consumer Protection said.
She also demanded six months’ rent in advance totalling more than $30,000 from the Mount Pleasant tenant, when only two weeks’ rent was allowed under WA’s Residential Tenancies Act, and she took more than 14 days to lodge bonds with the bond administrator.
Liau also advised clients she had a real estate agent’s licence when she held only a certificate of registration as a property manager from March 2010 and March 2013.
She was ordered to pay $2220 in costs.