Realtor’s ‘bonus’ on house sale in dispute
A West Vancouver realtor deceived his client by telling him he wouldn’t be presented a full-price offer for his home unless a $100,000 bonus was paid to another realtor, a Real Estate Council of B.C. lawyer alleged before a disciplinary panel on Friday.
But Shahin Behroyan, who faces seven allegations, has denied any professional misconduct.
On Friday, council lawyer Jean Whittow told the panel the two “significant” allegations, of deception and conflict of interest, concern the $75,000 bonus that Behroyan’s client Hamid Gamini eventually paid to Behroyan on top of Behroyan’s $72,000 commission for the $2.7-million sale of a Kings Avenue property.
In the 2014 sale, West Vancouver realtor Teresa De Cotiis represented John and Alexis Clague, the buyers of Gamini’s home.
Whittow said the panel must weigh the credibility of Behroyan and Gamini in order to judge the “mighty dispute” between their testimonies about bonus circumstances.
Whittow summarized the differences.
According to Gamini, Behroyan told him on Nov. 7, 2014 that in order for a full-price offer to be presented for Gamini’s home — which had been on the market for six months — the Clagues’ agent had insisted on a $100,000 bonus.
According to Gamini, Behroyan justified the bonus by saying, “this is how properties with a disadvantage are sold.”
The panel’s chair, Barry Long, asked Whittow to clarify whether Gamini’s testimony suggested a different allegation. “Is it in effect a kind of blackmail, in other words, ‘You can’t see the offer unless you pay the bonus?’” Long asked.
Whittow said the council would not describe Gamini’s allegations against Behroyan in those words.
But according to Behroyan, it was Gamini who offered him a performance bonus, and after some discussion they agreed to lower the bonus figure suggested by Behroyan to $75,000 from $100,000, and Behroyan never implied the bonus was to be paid to another agent.
However, Whittow said that Behroyan’s version of events wasn’t supported by documents, and Gamini’s version of events was supported by a text message Gamini sent to Behroyan on Nov. 7: “Shahin 100k is a lot, try to bring it as low as you can I have to convince my family too.”
Whittow also pointed to Behroyan’s signing of an agreement to work as realtor with the Clagues on another property deal, several weeks before the Kings Avenue transaction. Gamini testified that Behroyan had never disclosed this relationship.
“The question is, if you are so connected to the party on the other side, how do I know that you are acting well in my interest?” Whittow told the panel.
But Behroyan testified that he had disclosed his relationship with the Clagues to Gamini.
Behroyan’s lawyer, John Shields, said that with such stark differences between the testimonies of Gamini and Behroyan, the panel must rely on a “key document” signed by Gamini.
The document, called a seller’s fee agreement, recorded the bonus payment agreement reached between Behroyan and Gamini, Shields said. He said Gamini had signed and initialled the brief document.
“Where you have a disagreement with Hamid and my client (on the circumstances of the bonus), this document is the best evidence,” Shields said. “An experienced businessman ... having sold real estate before ... clearly read it, and understood it, and signed it.”