Woman fined $50K for unlicensed property management in Vancouver
B.C.'s real estate services regulator has suspended a woman from the industry for 30 days and imposed $50,000 in penalties for her misconduct in managing a rental agreement for a client.
Tian Ying Pu was registered as a "trading services representative" under B.C.'s Real Estate Services Act in October 2016, when the misconduct began, according to a consent order published on the BC Financial Services Authority website Wednesday.
At that time, Pu was approached by the wife of a man she had represented in the purchase of a Vancouver home in August 2015. The woman asked Pu to help her find a tenant for the property.
The consent order has been redacted to remove the names of the homeowner and his wife, as well as the specific address of the property.
Pu agreed to help rent the property, but did not provide a written agreement for the rental management services she would provide, according to the order.
She advertised the home for rent on Craigslist and showed the property to potential tenants, eventually renting it for $2,500 per month for a one-year term beginning Nov. 1, 2016.
"The rental agreement indicated that Ms. Pu was the landlord and Ms. Pu signed it as the landlord," the order reads.
Pu also paid out the security deposit to a previous tenant, paid for the re-keying of the property's mailbox, and paid property taxes to the City of Vancouver for the home in 2017.
"From October 2016 through December 2017, Ms. Pu did not provide the rental agreement or (the tenant's) contact information to the owner or the complainant (his wife)," the order reads.
According to the document, Pu kept the tenant's security deposit and monthly rent payments in her personal bank account, and did not remit any funds to the owner of the property between November 2016 and February 2017.
After that date, she paid a total of $12,500 to the owner – the equivalent of five months' rent – during the seven-month period from March to September 2017, according to the consent order.
"Between March 2017 and November 2017, the complainant made repeated inquiries about the rental funds that had not been remitted to the owner," the document reads.
The homeowner's wife made her complaint to the BCFSA in December 2017. She also contacted the brokerage for which Pu worked to complain about the lack of payment.
"Prior to the complaints, the brokerage was unaware of the rental property management services she was providing for the owner," the consent order reads.
"Further, at no point did Ms. Pu deliver to the brokerage any of the rental funds she had collected."
The consent order describes Pu's behaviour as a few different types of misconduct.
First, she provided services she was not licensed to provide as a trading services representative for her brokerage.
Second, she provided those services "separate and apart from" her brokerage, and failed to deliver money she received for those or through services to the brokerage.
Third, she failed to obtain written authorization to sign the rental tenancy agreement with the tenant on behalf of the owner of the property.
And fourth, she "intentionally failed to account for or pay over, within a reasonable time, the money she received that belonged to the owner."
Under the consent order, Pu agrees that this was misconduct and proposes various penalties for the BCFSA to impose on her as a result of it.
The order calls for a 30-day suspension of Pu's licence and prohibits her from acting as an unlicensed assistant during the suspension period.
It also requires her to pay a $45,000 fine to the BCFSA within three months of the order's approval.
Pu must also pay $5,000 in "partial enforcement expenses" to the BCFSA, and she is required to take two courses: the Real Estate Trading Services Remedial Education course provided by UBC's Sauder School of Business and the BCFSA Ethics for the Real Estate Professional course provided by the Real Estate Institute of Canada.
"If Ms. Pu fails to comply with any of the terms of the order set out above, the Superintendent (of Real Estate) may suspend or cancel their licence without further notice to them," the order concludes.
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