A Richmond realtor who committed professional misconduct has been suspended for six months by the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC).
Craig Steven Lau, currently with MacDonald Realty Westmar in Richmond, was also ordered to pay thousands of dollars in penalties.
In an RECBC decision published June 9, Lau was found to have committed professional misconduct when he allowed his name to be used as the buyer’s agent in three real-estate transactions in 2017, although he did not provide any real estate services.
Lau, who has been licensed since 2016, admitted to the wrongdoing in a consent order proposal he prepared for the RECBC disciplinary hearing.
According to the RECBC, under the Real Estate Services Act licensees who have received a discipline hearing notice and who want to admit to the allegations in that notice, can submit a written proposal to the RECBC. These result in formal discipline orders and become a part of the licensee’s public record.
At the time of the three transactions in 2017, Lau was with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty and was “relatively new to the real estate industry,” according to the RECBC documents. All of the transactions involved properties in Squamish.
The documents state Lau was “approached by his cousin by marriage,” referred to only as Mr. Xxxxx – also a realtor – who asked to use Lau’s name “as buyer's agent on three of Mr. Xxxxx's listings even though Mr. Xxxxx was to provide all real estate services to the buyers and to the sellers.”
In exchange for allowing Mr. Xxxxx to use his name as buyer’s agent, Lau would “receive a portion of the buyer's commission” on each transaction.
According to the documents, Lau “allowed himself to be identified as the buyers’ agent in the Contracts and related documents when in fact he did not provide real estate services to the buyers, thereby making an intentional misrepresentation of material fact.”
He also “caused his Brokerage to enter a Fee Agreement with each seller based on the false representation that he was the buyers’ agent, and when he had agreed with Mr. Xxxxx that he would provide a portion of the remuneration he received in connection with the transaction to him.”
As a result of the misconduct, the RECBC has ordered that Lau’s licence be suspended for six months, from July 7, 2021 to Jan. 7, 2022.
He will also pay a discipline penalty of $5,000, plus an additional discipline penalty of $11,268 – the amount of remuneration he accepted from the three transactions – and $1,500 in enforcement expenses.