This is a RECO Discipline case, and as crazy as it may sound it’s true. You just can’t make this stuff up.
The Buyer’s agent was obviously anxious. He had booked two appointments. He submitted a lowball Offer. This didn’t please the Seller, nor did his comments about the Seller’s husband. This is not a good way to start negotiating.
He wants to book another showing. He is told:
“NO SHOWINGS FOR YOU”
But, that doesn’t stop him. He shows up on the property without permission, thereby committing a trespass, He unlocks the lockbox. He knows the number from the other day. He proceeds to enter the house.
At this point, he is blocked by the Seller. You would think that a normal person would apologize and retreat. Not Larry! He challenges the Seller and DEMANDS ENTRY. After all, he is a real estate agent and he does HAVE RIGHTS. If he wants to show the house now, THEN HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SHOW THE HOUSE NOW.
Very crazy thinking by Larry! But, apparently, it’s the truth. It’s all set out in the Decision, and Larry Lowball signed the consent.
Being BLOCKED entry, you would think would be enough for most people to get the message. Not Larry, he then decides that he should NEGOTIATE the price with the Seller. It apparently never occurred to him that the Listing Agent should be present.
So, Larry actually just had a continual series of stupid moments that ran all morning from being told “no”, driving over without an appointment, meeting with his clients (I’m sure they love him), trespassing (a civil offence), falsely removing the key, fraudulently using the key to break and enter, actually breaking in (a criminal offence), yelling at the Seller, demanding his “rights”, and finally “negotiating directly” (this last item is just a simple breach of the Code of Ethics).
What a strange “stream of consciousness”! One might think that he was “on drugs”, “had a mental breakdown” or something happened which might tend to explain this bizarre behaviour. Did I mention that Larry has 22 years in the business?
Here’s a summary of the relevant paragraphs from the RECO decision:
AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PENALTY
1. Larry Lowball is, and at all relevant times was, registered as a salesperson under the Act with Brokerage ABC.
2. On or about July 22, 2014, Registrant Lloyd Robertson listed for sale the residential property…..
3. The relevant details of the listing were as follows: a) The sellers; and b) The list price was $589,900.00.
4. Having scheduled an appointment to show the Property, on or about August 16, 2014, between12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., Larry Lowball showed 1-A Street to his clients, Buyers A for a second time.
5. After the showing, Larry prepared an offer on behalf of Buyers A to purchase the Property (the “August 16, 2014 Offer”). The key terms of the August 16, 2014 Offer were as follows:
a) The offered price was $520,000.00;
b) The deposit of $10,000.00 was payable upon acceptance;
c) The offer was irrevocable by the Buyers until 11:00 p.m. on August 16, 2014; and
d) The completion date was October 1, 2014.
6. After preparing the August 16, 2014 Offer, Larry telephoned Lloyd to discuss the terms. Lloyd was concerned about the purchase price as he was of the view that it was too low. With respect to the date of irrevocability, Robertson requested more time as he explained to Mr. Lowball that the seller was in the hospital for surgery.
7. Following the discussion in the paragraph 6 above, Mr. Lowball e-mailed the August 16, 2014 Offer to Lloyd. The offered price was still $520,000.00 but the date of irrevocability was changed to 4:00 p.m. on August 17, 2014.
8. Immediately after receiving Larry’s e-mail with the August 16, 2014 Offer, Lloyd e-mailed Larry with a list of three comparable properties that sold for $565,000.00 to $567,000.00 and $589,000.00. In the e-mail, Lloyd also stated the following:
a) “IF YOU HAD OF [sic] DONE YOUR DUE DILIGENCE I WOULD NOT BE SENDING THIS”.
b) “PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME AS I FOUND YOUR DISRESPECT REGARDING MY CLIENT UNPROFESSIONAL” [sic].
9. On receiving Lloyd’s e-mail in paragraph 8 above, Larry replied and explained that the Buyers are “first time buyers” and that “although the offer is low, it’s not completely outrageous and is only 70K under current list value”.
Furthermore, Larry Lowball requested that the sellers “present a sign back at a price they would be more comfortable with”.
10. At about 9:14 a.m. on August 16, 2014, Lloyd replied to Larry’s e-mail. In his reply, Lloyd advised Mr. Lowball that he was no longer allowed to show the Property. Specifically, Lloyd Robertson stated:
a) “THERE WILL BE NO MORE SHOWINGS TO CONFIRM FOR YOU, AS IT HAS BEEN DISCUSSED IN DETAIL WITH THE OWNER AND SHE DID NOT APPRECIATE YOUR OFFER OR THE FACT THAT YOU FOUND IT SO FUNNY ABOUT HER HUSBAND [sic] RE CONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY”.
11. At about 9:54 p.m. on August 16, 2014, Mr. Lowball replied to Robertson as follows:
“You’re very difficult to work with. I will get my client to submit a new offer in the morning. You seem like an angry person. I do not know the sellers. Nor did I laugh at his unfortunate situation. I merely chuckled when you said “I know you don’t believer [sic]”. I urge you to stay focused.
My clients [sic] parents want to have a look at the place tomorrow morning. Please let me know what time is convenient tomorrow”.
12. Lloyd Robertson did not respond to Mr. Lowball’s e-mail of 9:54 p.m. on August 16, 2014.
13. On or about August 17, 2014, although Mr. Lowball had been expressly advised that the Sellers did not want him to show the Property, Mr. Lowball, without a showing appointment or the knowledge or consent of the Listing Brokerage, attended the Property with his clients.
14. Mr. Lowball proceeded to retrieve the house key from the lock box. Larry unlocked and opened the front door of the Property and was met by the seller who was inside the Property at the time. The seller accused Mr. Larry Lowball of breaking into the Property and asked him to leave.
15. Mr. Larry Lowball ignored the seller’s demands for him to leave and proceeded to argue with the seller regarding why he was not allowed to show the Property.
16. In addition, Mr. Lowball tried to negotiate a purchase price of the Property with the seller in the absence of and without the consent of Lloyd Robertson or the Listing Brokerage.
17. After several attempts to speak with the seller who continued to ask him to leave, Mr. Larry Lowball and his clients left the Property.
18. The seller filed a complaint with the City Police Service (the “Police”) regarding Mr. Larry Lowball opening the door of the Property without a showing appointment.
19. Larry subsequently admitted to the Police that he attended and accessed the Property without permission after being expressly advised not to show it.
20. The Police verbally cautioned Mr. Lowball for trespassing with regards to his entry into the Property.
SUMMARY OF AGREEMENTS
It is agreed that Mr. Lowball acted unprofessionally, including as follows:
1. Visited the Property and used the lock box code to retrieve a key to open the front door of the Property without the knowledge and consent of the Listing Brokerage, Lloyd Robertson or the seller, after being expressly advised by Lloyd Robertson and the seller that he was no longer allowed to show the Property, thereby breaching Section 39 of the Code of Ethics Under the Act (the “Code of Ethics”); and
2. Communicated directly with the seller, a client of the Listing Brokerage, for the purpose of a trade in real estate without the written consent of the Brokerage or Lloyd Robertson by attempting to negotiate the purchase price for the Property, thereby breaching Sections 3, 7(1) and 39 of the Code of Ethics.
It is agreed that Mr. Lowball breached the following sections of the Code of Ethics:
Fairness, Honesty, Etc.
3 A registrant shall treat every person the registrant deals with in the course of a trade in real estate fairly, honestly and with integrity.
Dealings with Other Registrants
7(1) A registrant who knows or ought to have known that a person is a client of another registrant shall communicate information to the person for the purpose of a trade in real estate only through the other registrant, unless the other registrant has consented in writing.
Unprofessional Conduct, Etc.
39 A registrant shall not, in the course of trading in real estate, engage in any act or omission that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unbecoming a registrant.
AGREED PENALTY Larry Lowball, the Respondent, be ordered to pay a penalty of $6,000.00 on or before February 28, 2017.
What can I say!
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker