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Property agent fined $5,000 for holding transaction monies

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The PropNex Realty property agent, Charles Tan Chun Peng, was fined $5,000 for holding $32,300 of developer transaction monies.

A property agent was fined $5,000 on Wednesday (1 December) for holding transaction monies on behalf of a developer for the acquisition of a condominium unit.

This comes after Charles Tan Chun Peng, a property agent with PropNex Realty, pleaded guilty to “holding on behalf of the developer transaction monies amounting to $32,300”, said the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

The money was the partial payment of the $44,300 booking fee for the acquisition of the condominium unit on behalf of the buyers to the developer.

In sentencing the 42-year-old property agent, the Court also considered the first charge of holding the transaction monies of $11,000 on behalf of the developer. It was also in partial payment of the booking fee for the condominium unit.

CEA revealed that it received information in December 2018 that an Option-To-Purchase (OTP) for an uncompleted condominium was rescinded since one of the buyers – the father – was an undischarged bankrupt and the co-buyer – the son – was below 21 years old.

Investigations showed that Tan conducted a viewing of a show flat in October 2016 for the buyers and their family. Thereafter, the father and son agreed to pay the $44,300 booking fee.

The father, however, told Tan that he could only pay in cash since he did not have a bank account.

Tan offered to help them issue a cheque for the booking fee, which was accepted by the buyers. The father immediately handed over $11,000 cash on the spot.

Tan deposited the money in his bank account the following day. He also proceeded to the father’s home and collected $32,300 cash, which was placed in a red plastic bag.

He deposited such an amount into his bank account and later issued a $44,300 cheque to the developer as payment of the booking fee on behalf of the buyer. Tan used his personal funds to cover the shortfall of $1,000.

A few days later, however, the father’s ex-wife informed Tan that the father was an undischarged bankrupt, while the son was an underaged individual.

She requested for the acquisition to be declared void and for a refund of the booking fee.

With the help of PropNex Realty, Tan drafted a letter requesting a refund of the booking fee to the buyers, which was granted by the developer.

In a release, CEA underscored that property agencies and agents “are prohibited from handling transaction monies for or on behalf of any party in the sale or purchase of any property situated in Singapore and the lease of HDB property”.

“This regulation is to protect consumers’ interests. If agencies or agents handle transaction monies, they may compromise the integrity of the transaction and put their clients at risk especially if they misappropriate the money or convert the money for their own use,” it explained.

It also advised consumers “not to hand transaction monies to their property agencies and agents or make such requests to them”.

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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: [email protected].

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