Property firm and its director fined for unlicensed work



Lim was fined $100,000, the heftiest meted out by the courts to an individual for unlicensed estate agency work, according to the Council for Estate Agencies.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Published Dec 22, 2016, 5:00 am SGT
Amir Hussain

A property management company and its sole director were yesterday convicted of unlawfully conducting estate agency work without being licensed by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

Franks Property was fined $115,000 while its sole director, Lim Koon Heng, alias Franks, 70, was fined $100,000.

The fines are the heftiest meted out by the courts to a company and an individual for unlicensed estate agency work so far, said the CEA.

Both Lim and his company each pleaded guilty to three out of nine charges.

The proceeded charges arise from three property transactions involving a total commission of $94,976.64. This is the highest amount of commission collected by an unlicensed estate agency that the CEA has prosecuted.

A district court heard that around 2012, Franks Property negotiated and arranged for the purchase of a home at 22, Vanda Drive for $8.02 million. The transaction was completed around June 30, 2013, and Franks Property received a co-broke commission of $37,476.64 from the seller's real estate agency, ERA Realty Network.

Around early 2013, the then owner of a shophouse unit at 16, Smith Street also engaged Franks Property to find a buyer.

The owner, Peng Kwee Watches and Jewellery, agreed to pay Franks Property a commission fee of 1 per cent of the property's sale price.

Vancouver Capital bought the unit for $7.5 million. Franks Property was paid a co-broke commission of $37,500.

Around August 2013, the then owners of a 12th-storey unit at Far East Shopping Centre also engaged Franks Property. They wanted to sell the unit for $1 million and agreed to give Franks Property the amount in excess as commission.

Lim found a buyer who forked out $1.02 million for the property. The sellers paid Franks Property a commission of $20,000.

In all the three transactions, Lim signed off as Franks Property's director on the invoices issued for the commission fees.

Prior to the CEA's formation, Lim and/or Franks Property held a house agent licence issued by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

However, after the CEA was set up in October 2010, all property agencies and agents were required to be licensed and registered with it before they could carry out estate agency work. But Lim and Franks Property did not do so.

Both could have been fined up to $75,000, while Lim could also have been jailed for up to three years, for each of the proceeded charges.