Singapore-based real estate agency Dennis Wee Realty was fined S$66,000 for six charges of failing to provide a written advisory message to investors stating risks involved in purchasing foreign properties.
The penalty was imposed by the Singapore's Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), which also banned the firm from transacting or marketing properties abroad for 12 months with effect from November 24.
This is the largest fine meted out so far to a property agency for failing to abide by regulations related to estate agency work involving foreign properties, CEA said in a statement posted on its website.
"Throughout the property marketing process, DWR's property agents did not provide the investors with a written advisory message stating that the investors must conduct due diligence. They did not highlight to the investors the risks that are involved for consumers buying foreign property, and that the transaction is subject to foreign laws and to any change in policies and rules in the UK," the CEA said.
Between April 2014 to September 2014, DWR conducted seminars in Singapore to market and sell the Ibis Budget Hotel located in Lymm and/or Ibis Budget Hotel located in Knutsford, Cheshire.
To invite members of the public to its seminars, DWR made false representations in their advertisements such as "Meet the developer" and other claims. This was despite the fact that DWR had known that the developers would not be attending the seminars, CEA said in a report.
Between June 2014 and October 2014, six sets of investors, including one who acted for his company, bought a total of 13 units in the Lymm Project and five units in the Knutsford Project through DWR.
Throughout the property marketing process, DWR's property agents did not provide the investors with a written advisory message stating that the investors must conduct due diligence.
The CEA is a statutory board established in 2010 under the Estate Agents Act to regulate and promote the development of a professional and trusted real estate agency industry.