The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)’s e-newsletter recently revealed two property salespersons were fined for not adhering to the advertising guidelines.
Shane Yeo was charged by CEA’s Disciplinary Committee with 38 charges of advertising without owner’s consent. On 18 March 2014, he was found guilty on four charges and was fined $12,000. The other 34 charges were taken into consideration in the sentence.
In a separate case, Maggie Khoo was convicted on 8 May 2014 for advertising two properties without the homeowner’s consent. She was sentenced by CEA’s Disciplinary Committee to a fine of $5,700 for the two charges proceeded against her. Two other charges for similar breaches were taken into consideration for sentencing.
According to CEA’s advertising guidelines, homeowner’s consent in writing is required before advertising the property, and details of the property must be accurate and claims in the advertisements should not be misleading.
Advertising is a key activity which should facilitate the smooth conduct of property transactions. Advertising guidelines for the industry are provided in the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, the Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising and the Professional Service Manual. The guidelines indicate that:
- Owner’s consent in writing is required before advertising the property.
- Property details must be accurate.
- “Dummy” or copied advertisements, where the salespersons did not have any property, are not allowed.
- Claims made in advertisements should not be inaccurate, false or misleading.
- There shall be no use of terms such as no co-broking, buyer only or other equivalent terms.
- Advertisement must be withdrawn once the property is no longer available.