An alleged 'death-knock' type incident in Queensland, where an agent was caught taking photos of a lady's house the day after the death of her husband, has drawn a strong rebuke from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
The alleged incident, which was reported on ABC Radio Brisbane, involved the claim that the information about the death came from within the hospital where the man passed away.
ABC Radio Brisbane breakfast host Spencer Howson said the lady in question – Gail Thomsom – sent him a letter about the incident.
“My husband passed away in hospital on 24th January, 2012,” the letter read.
“The afternoon of 25th January I caught a real estate agent taking photos of my house. I live on a corner so she checked out back and front of the property. When I went to approach her to find out why she was taking photos, she ran to her car, jumped in and took off at speed.
“On telling this tale to friends because I was so upset by the whole incident, other stories emerged - apparently the agents have someone on the inside at the hospital who feeds them information about the properties of newly deceased.
“My problem is with the estate agents who act on this information immediately, especially preying on the vulnerable older widows. Since when did this become acceptable behaviour in Australia! Surely they can wait a month at least before trying to get their business. I hadn't even contacted a funeral director to make any arrangements, so no notices were in the paper.”
ABC did not divulge the name of the agent, or the agency they worked for. The lady reported that she knew it was an agent because her neighbour witnessed the person get into a car that had the agency’s brand painted on it.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Anton Kardash told ABC Radio Brisbane that he was “bemused and distressed” by the incident.
“Such behavior by an agent is clearly in breach of the ethical standards that we operate on,” he said.
But he added that he couldn’t understand why an agent would be taking photos of a property that they hadn’t been given the listing for. Agents had to follow a clearly defined process before they were given a listing, which included the need for an agreement in writing.
He encouraged Ms Thomson to contact the REIQ’s complaints line, which last year received around 13,000 calls.