The extraordindary saga of 2B Edgecumbe Street, Hamilton is not just another leaky home story.
A real estate agent who admitted disgraceful conduct over the sale of a leaky house may escape losing her real estate licence after appearing at a sentencing hearing.
REMAX’s former general manager Corinna Mansell had already pleaded guilty to the charge of ‘disgraceful conduct’ over the sale of Hamilton house 2B Edgecumbe St, which purchaser Jean Warburton found out had extensive weathertightness issues costing around $500,000 to repair.
Mansell appeared at a Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal sentencing hearing on Monday.
The 2B Edgecumbe St saga is detailed in Stuff’s series The Big Leak.
Counsel for the Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) Michael Hodge said the committee was seeking a censure and six month suspension for Mansell.
“That’s a stern order, to bring home to Ms Mansell and other agents the importance of full and fair disclosure in a case like this.”
At the heart of the matter was the non-disclosure of a Inred Thermal Imaging Services building report (Inred report), commissioned in 2011, by previous owner Michael Wallis, Hodge said.
It revealed significant moisture ingress issues in the property.
“This is non-disclosure of absolutely vital, essential information where the purchaser isn’t fairly informed of what they are purchasing.”
Wallis subsequently had remedial work done on the property by builder Matt Carson, who produced his own report.
Mansell knew of the Inred report when she purchased the house and said she posted it by mail to listing agents Andrew Gibson and Cary Ralph.
Gibson and Ralph said they never received it.
“Her position throughout was that while she was aware of the Inred report she had satisfied herself the remedial works had sorted the issues,” Hodge said.
Regardless, all documents or reports indicating leaky issues should have been detailed in the listing agreement, Hodge said.
A reasonable, objective purchaser would expect an agent who has been through the process a million times before to disclose the report, he said.
Defence counsel Matthew Ward-Johnson argued a fine between $5000 – 7500 was a sufficient penalty.
Mansell wasn’t acting as an agent at the time, enlisting agents Gibson and Ralph to sell the property, he said.
She believed the issues had been remediated, Ward-Johnson said, but she could not escape the responsibility to provide relevant documents in the listing forms.
She has admitted she does not know whether the report has been received, he said.
Several factors mitigated her conduct, Ward-Johnson said.
Mansell had stood down as general manager of the New Zealand-Australia arm of REMAX, and pleaded guilty before the hearing, he said.
She had not been the subject of a complaint in her career before, he said.
“She candidly accepts she has not been as diligent or appropriate as she would want, and this continues to haunt her today.”
Tribunal chair Justice Pamela Andrews said a decision would be issued in due course.
Speaking after the hearing, former licensee of REMAX Cambridge Andrew Gibson said a six month suspension was a joke.
“It’s a weak penalty, she should lose her licence.”
Her actions had caused reputational damage to the business, and caused Warburton significant distress.
She had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the whole process, Gibson said.
Gibson and Ralph maintained they did not know about the Inred report or the extent of leaks.
Mansell did not respond to requests for comment.