Agent in fir­ing line

An­other un­der­quot­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion


A FOR­MER Ray White fran­chisee is the lat­est es­tate agent to face watch­dog ac­tion over al­leged un­der­quot­ing and trust ac­count mis­man­age­ment.

The Sarain Pty Ltd and di­rec­tor Surinder Sarain are al­leged to have breached the Es­tate Agents Act 1980 op­er­at­ing as Ray White Wer­ribee.

Con­sumer Af­fairs Vic­to­ria has ap­plied to the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal to hold an in­quiry into the mar­ket­ing of 14 western sub­urbs prop­er­ties.

Mr Sarain, 42, of Or­mond, and his com­pany ad­ver­tised the homes for less than the ven­dor’s re­serve price or be­low the es­ti­mated sell­ing price, CAV al­leges.

It also al­leges Mr Sarain failed to meet cer­tain trust ac­count record re­quire­ments.

The Her­ald Sun has sought com­ment from Mr Sarain.

Ray White spokes­woman Lisa Pen­nell said Mr Sarain had oper­ated the brand’s Wer­ribee of­fice for about 2½ years from July 2013.

“We ac­tu­ally parted ways with Surinder ear­lier last year. We had been dis­sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance of that of­fice for some time and he hasn’t been a part of our group since March 2016,” she said.

Ms Pen­nell said she could not elab­o­rate fur­ther on why the group was dis­sat­is­fied, but said it was un­aware of any con­duct that could have breached the Act.

“If we had been aware of that, we would have ad­vised CAV our­selves,” she said.

Mr Sarain is now listed as an as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of Stock­dale & Leggo in Caulfield and the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of 361 De­grees Real Es­tate. That brand’s web­site lists of­fices in Wer­ribee, Tarneit, Thomas­town and Caro­line Springs.

The Sarain Pty Ltd is the 10th agency CAV has taken ac­tion against for al­leged un­der­quot­ing since launch­ing its Task­force Vesta crack­down.

It comes as a Yar­ra­wonga real es­tate agency and its di­rec­tor were fined $15,000 plus costs af­ter plead­ing guilty to trust ac­count de­fi­cien­cies and mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing funds.

A CAV in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed Alder­gate Nom­i­nees Pty Ltd — trad­ing as Stock­dale & Leggo Yar­ra­wonga — and its sole di­rec­tor, Tracey Anne Smith, 43, of Yar­ra­wonga, mis­ap­pro­pri­ated more than $18,500, re­lat­ing to 21 trans­ac­tions, be­tween Oc­to­ber 2015 and Au­gust 2016.

Ms Smith and Alder­gate Nom­i­nees’ li­cences were can­celled as a re­sult.

Paul Pfeif­fer, of Mel­bourne Deluxe Prop­erty, will be sen­tenced in the County Court in Oc­to­ber af­ter plead­ing guilty to mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing about $250,000 of clients’ money.

Ex-LJ Hooker agent Tri Duc Ngo, who also uses the alias Joseph Ngo, will face court again next week in re­la­tion to more than 300 charges re­lat­ing to al­leged plun­dered trust ac­counts and stolen house de­posits.

Surinder Sarain

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