Realtor fined nearly $75,000 after representing wife in purchase of clients’ B.C. property

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      A realtor has been disciplined after representing his wife in buying a B.C. property he had listed for a couple.

      As a result, Ross Chonn is barred from applying for a new real-estate licence for the next five years.

      Also, the former One Percent Realty and Fair Realty agent was ordered to pay fines totalling $74,813.45.

      The property involved features a grocery, accommodation, and storage in the old gold rush town of Clinton.

      A husband and wife, who were identified only as Mr. Lxx and Ms. Wxxx, asked Chonn to list the property in 2016.

      At the hearing by a discipline committee, Mr. Lxx spoke through an interpreter.

      Although the sellers became aware that Ross Chonn was also acting as agent for his wife, the realtor did not make them understand what was going on.

      Chonn and his wife and their two young children moved into the property in February 2017, even before the sale was completed.

      The discipline committee noted in its reasons for decision that Chonn did “not offer to pay the Sellers any rent, or provide any other form of consideration for he and his family moving in one month before completion”.

      “During cross-examination, Mr. Chonn admitted he knew this was wrong,” the committee related.

      Realtors are prohibited from acting as agent for both seller and buyer.

      However, there are exemptions to this rule.

      “Mr. Chonn failed to fully inform the Sellers of a conflict of interest,” the discipline committee stated.

      The committee explained that a client must be “fully informed in the event of a conflict of interest in order to make an informed decision as to whether to continue to be represented”.

      Chonn could have acted properly if he prepared a limited dual agency agreement, which he did not.

      “Acting in the best interest of the clients includes obtaining informed consent from both parties that the agent will be acting for both seller and buyer and outlining the exact nature of the real estate services being provided,” the committee stated.

      Chonn was questioned about the lack of a dual agency agreement, and he claimed that “one had been signed”.

      However, Chonn said that when he “moved to Clinton, one box of files got dumped into the garbage”.

      Failure to execute a dual agency agreement wasn’t the only offence committed by Chonn, who is currently unlicensed.

      Chonn also did not inform his brokerage about the deal.

      Chonn prepared a contract of purchase for the Clinton property with a price of $250,000 in what he described to the disciple committee as a “private deal”.

      The former realtor likewise got a commission from the sale outside his brokerage.

      In addition, he failed to properly inform the sellers that he was getting a commission of $13,250.

      The sale completed in March 2017.

      The discipline committee noted that Chonn “relisted the Property for $499,000.00 only a few months after purchase”.

      The B.C. Financial Services Authority published online the results of the disciplinary hearing Wednesday (September 22).