A real estate TV personality has been caught up in a tussle with Consumer Affairs Victoria, following claims that he misled buyers over an apartment development in Victoria.
Buyer’s agent Frank Valentic is best known for his multiple appearances as a buyer’s agent on Nine Network’s The Block.
Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported on Thursday that Mr Valentic, founder of buyer’s advocacy service Advantage Property Consulting, was facing “a litany of claims” surrounding the sale of lots in a Malvern apartment block.
“High-profile buyer’s advocate Frank Valentic is accused of breaking consumer laws and acting dishonestly in the sale of four lots in a Malvern apartment block,” the story read.
“Consumer Affairs Victoria alleges Mr Valentic also advertised the apartments as having features they didn’t have, gave false information to an investigator, and showed potential buyers through a unit while the tenant was unaware it was for sale.”
The Herald Sun also made mention of an allegation involving a buyer who believes they paid for services that were not provided: “Consumer Affairs alleges Mr Valentic required the buyers of two units to pay Advantage a $13,750 fee for buyer’s agent services which were not provided to those purchasers.”
In a statement released to Smart Property Investment, Advantage Property Consulting’s public relations firm declined to comment further on the matters.
“The matter is currently under investigation with Consumer Affairs and our legal team. We are not in a position to discuss further until the matter has been heard at the VCAT hearing in February,” it read.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has confirmed that it has made a case against Mr Valentic and Advantage Property, with the case before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal alleging the following matters:
- Providing assurances to each unit holder that they would have their own exclusive access to a courtyard which was actually common property. While there was a proposal for unit holders to each have access to a section of the courtyard, the proposal remained subject to the agreement of the owners corporation after settlement.
- Arranging an inspection of Unit 2 while the unit was tenanted and without the tenant's knowledge that the inspection was taking place.
- Holding the inaugural Owner’s Corporation meeting for all four units, with only himself and an Advantage Property staff member present. At that meeting appointing Advantage Property as Owner’s Corporation Manager, even though Mr Valentic had no voting rights as he was not the owner of any of the units. Advantage Property also tried to call owners corporation meetings before settlement, at a time when the purchasers did not yet have voting rights.
- Charging two purchasers a $13,750 ‘consulting fee’ for buyer's agent services despite not acting as a buyer's agent for those purchasers.
- Instructing purchasers to backdate a series of legally binding agreements.
- Compelling purchasers to use the conveyancer of Advantage Property's choice.
- Providing false information to a CAV Inspector in response to a notice.
The allegations are set to be heard at a hearing by VCAT, commencing on 15 February.
This article has been updated since it was first published in order to include CAV's allegations.