Realtor fined $5,500 for receiving commission directly from client in China for Surrey condo deal

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      The Real Estate Services Act spells out clearly the relationship between brokerages and property agents.

      One, a managing broker, associate broker or representative “must not provide real estate services other than on behalf of the brokerage in relation to which they are licensed”.

      Two, the same people are “not entitled to and must not accept remuneration in relation to real estate services from any person other than the brokerage in relation to which they are licensed”.

      The second provision was relevant to a case involving realtor Zhong (Susan) Zhang.

      She received through her personal bank account the commission she earned from a client based in China.

      Zhang did so despite being told by her brokerage at the time in 2016 that she should not accept the $8,778.51 commission through her personal bank account.

      The money was wired to her from China on July 12, 2016.

      On the following day, she transferred the fund to the account of Black Diamond Realty Inc., which does business as Keller Williams Black Diamond Realty.

      The next day, July 14, the brokerage reported Zhang’s conduct to the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC).

      Zhang earned the commission from the assignment of a pre-sale or yet to be constructed condo in Surrey.

      The assignment contract was worth $67,495.

      The seller issued a letter authorizing Zhang to act on his behalf regarding the receipt and release of the commission.

      The seller stated in this letter that his bank in Nanjing, China rejected his request to wire funds to the trust accounts of the brokerage.

      This was supposedly due to China’s foreign currency regulations and restrictions.

      Also, the assignor noted that his bank does not provide certified cheques.

      Hence, the only way to get the commission sent was through Zhang’s personal bank account.

      Zhang told a discipline committee with RECBC that she should not have allowed this to happen.

      Also, the agent indicated that it was not her intention to hide the money.

      Additionally, Zhang believed that she was acting on her client’s best interest.

      The RECBC ordered Zhang to pay a discipline penalty of $4,000, plus $1,500 in enforcement expenses.

      Zhang is no longer with Keller Williams Black Diamond Realty. She is currently with Luxmore Realty, Vancouver.

      Zhang has been a realtor since 2014, and she has no previous discipline history.

      Details of Zhang’s case were released Wednesday (February 10) on the RECBC’s website.