Woman fined $15,000 for unlicensed estate agency work
A 43-year-old Singaporean woman was convicted in Court today for two charges of holding herself out to the public as being ready to undertake estate agency work as an estate agent and acting as an estate agent without being licensed by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) in relation to two room rental transactions of Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats.
Vanessa Thien Cai Yan (田彩彦) was sentenced to a fine totalling $15,000, in default two months’ imprisonment.
CEA’s charges against Vanessa Thien -
a) One charge under Section 28(1)(c) of the EAA, for holding herself out as being ready to undertake, whether or not for payment or other remuneration (whether monetary or otherwise), estate agency work as an estate agent without first being licensed by CEA; and b) One charge under Section 28(1)(b) of the EAA, for acting as an estate agent without first being licensed by CEA.
Investigations revealed that Thien had represented herself as a part-time property agent to family members of an owner of a HDB flat at Punggol. Thien had contacted the owner’s family member through the latter’s listing of a room rental on Carousell, an online portal. Thien was looking to charge the owner 25 per cent of one month’s rental as commission if she closed the transaction. The owner’s family member agreed to engage Thien on this basis. Thien then assisted the landlord in marketing the lease of the common room in her flat on Facebook and by conducting a viewing of the flat. It was also revealed that sometime around the period between November 2017 and December 2017, Thien assisted another landlord to rent out a room at a second HDB flat at Sengkang. She had advertised the rental of the room on Facebook, introduced a tenant to the landlord, facilitated the lease of the property, and received a commission of S$137.50 from the landlord. At all material times, Thien was not an estate agent licensed by the CEA
CEA cautions individuals and entities against conducting unlicensed estate agency work and using online property portals to facilitate such work by advertising properties for sale or lease if they are not licensed by CEA.
Consumers who choose to have a property agent assist them in their property transactions should only engage property agencies and agents licensed and registered with CEA respectively. The public can verify whether an entity or individual is licensed or registered with CEA via the Public Register on the CEA website.