Sunday, 25 August 2013

QLD Woman wins case against realtor charging $8500 commission for void contract

Woman wins case against realtor charging $8500 commission for void contract

second agent
Claudi Fiori has won her case with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal against LJ Hooker Logan City which was demanding $8500 commision for the sale of her Rocklea house even though another agency sold the property during the initial 60-day exclusive contract period. Source: News Limited Source: News Limited
A WOMAN has beaten the odds and avoided paying double commission, although her house was sold by real estate agents while under exclusive contract with another agency.
A tribunal member ruled in Claudi Fiori's favour because LJ Hooker Logan City failed to explain the consequences if she sold her Woodridge house within a 60-day contract period.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal adjudicator Bill Lemass ruled Ms Fiori did not owe LJ Hooker $8500 commission.
He said an exclusive contract was "rolled gold'' for an agency.
A property owner cannot independently sell to anyone, even a relative, within the exclusive contract period and if they do so they may have to pay the agency commission.
Ms Fiori signed a contract for LJ Hooker to sell her Woodridge house exclusively, after an hour's consultation on a Saturday night in June last year.
But Ms Fiori told QCAT at 8.15am on the Monday she called agency salesperson Win Andrews, telling her she no longer wanted them to sell her home.
She later received a June 26 letter from agent Kathy Phillips saying: "... we acknowledge that you have now decided to withdraw your property from our agency''.
Ms Phillips admitted at a tribunal hearing she did not explain to Ms Fiori that if she sold with another agency she would have to pay two lots of commission.
Ms Fiori, who believed she had cancelled the contract with LJ Hooker, sold the house with another agency three weeks later for $289,000.
She said it was not until the day before settlement that she got a letter from LJ Hooker saying she also owed it commission because of the exclusive contract.
Mr Lemass said the agency asked Ms Fiori to pay $8500 commission, on top of the $8500 paid to the selling agency, after "they did nothing'' towards the sale.
"They got a signature and did nothing,'' Mr Lemass said at a recent Ipswich hearing.
He said the letter from Ms Phillips appeared to have released Ms Fiori from the contract.
Mr Lemass found the agent had not complied with section 135 of the Act, requiring warnings to be made about consequences of selling while under exclusive contract.
He said it meant the appointment was ineffective and dismissed the agency's application to be paid commission.
Tim O'Dwyer of Mitchell Solicitors, which advised Ms Fiori, says the law should be changed to simply state "one sale, one commission" and there should be a cooling-off period for sellers who sign contracts.
Mr O'Dwyer said sellers should seek legal advice before signing exclusive contracts.