This is just one more “trespassing case”.
Here, the Buyers had a deal and the transaction was scheduled to close on 24 April 2015.
The Buyers completed the final inspection and requested that the Sellers leave the key in the lock box. The Buyer’s agent conveyed this message and it was agreed “provided the lawyers’ confirmed that the deal had closed”.
I guess you know what happened!
The Buyers just couldn’t wait. They decided to move in early. The Sellers saw this and confronted the Buyers. As it turned out, the Buyers didn’t have their financing in order and the lawyers arranged for an extension of the closing date.
Naturally, it was foolhardy for the Buyer’s agent to have offered up the lock box code, even with the warning not to use it until the deal closed.
This agent was disciplined, and received a $3,000.00 fine 14 April 2016. It should be noted that this fine doesn’t have to be paid until April 2017. That’s roughly two years after the offence.
This is a quick summary of the agent’s transgressions according to the Discipline Panel:
1. Permitted unsupervised access to the Property by providing the access code to the lockbox, prior to being advised the transaction completed thereby making the key to the Property available when the sale had not closed, which is a violation of Sections 3, 5, 38 and 39 of the Code of Ethics.
2. Put the Seller’s home potentially at risk by allowing a non-registrant unrestricted access to the home without supervision by a registrant, which is a violation of Sections 3, 5, 38 and 39 of the Code of Ethics.
3. Put the Buyers at the risk of liability, injury and/or loss, which is a violation of Sections 3, 5, 38 and 39 of the Code of Ethics.
A $3,000.00 fine which appears to be the norm for permitting unauthorized access seems somewhat small. In addition, I would think that taking the Law Course (OREA) and the Ethics Course (REIC) would be in order, but they were not.
A whole additional year to pay the small fine seems inappropriate and not much of a discouragement to others.
Subsequently, the maximum fines have doubled and this offence now appears to be in the $7,500.00 range.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker