by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B Queensland Solicitor & Consumer Advocate firstname.lastname@example.org
How to make a sale and collect a commission…when a property’s NOT for sale!
The basic real estate rule across Australia is that a licensed agent is entitled to be paid commission on a property sale provided the owner has engaged the agent in writing for that purpose. It is not unknown for agents to make sales first, then later secure their sellers’ signatures to ensure entitlements to commission. In Queensland, for instance, a real estate agent must not commence any selling activities for a client, nor collect a subsequent sales commission, unless both agent and client have first signed a government-prescribed form of appointment. The maximum fine for a breach of this three-year old law is $15,000, not to mention the more severe practical penalty of missing out on commission if the agent goes ahead and sells without being properly appointed. Not that this prevents some Sunshine State agents still trying to get paid for selling properties they are not lawfully authorised to sell – as the following true story shows.