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Abusive real estate agent fined, barred from operating

28 October 2019

A northern suburbs real estate agent who was abusive towards tenants, real estate agents, public servants and police has been fined $7500, barred from acting as a licensed land agent for at least six months and ordered to undergo anger management training.

The Commissioner for Consumer Affairs commenced disciplinary proceedings against Hayley Marley-Duncan – of Marley Duncan Real Estate – in the District Court after numerous complaints about her conduct.

The court was told Ms Marley-Duncan had been abusive towards another real estate agent, tenants, staff working in Consumer and Business Services and members of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal who had been presiding over matters involving her tenants.

The court was told that, at one SACAT hearing, Ms Marley-Duncan referred to one of her tenants as a “Centrelink dweller”, accused tribunal members of being “incompetent” and referred to Police on social media as “lying corrupt maggots”.

In a television interview at the site of a triple murder at Hillier, Ms Marley-Duncan also disclosed personal information relating to her tenants in an interview with television journalists, before hurling abuse at a police officer at the scene.

In his judgment, Judge Paul Slattery said there was no justification for Ms Marley Duncan’s behaviour, and that she failed to heed prior warnings about her conduct.

“Despite these warnings, she did not change her behaviour as an agent… these proceedings have not led her to reflect on her behaviour, to gain any insight into her behaviour or to change it,” he said.

“I have not been able to identify any indication of remorse, insight or steps taken to ensure that the behaviour is not repeated.

“The conduct of Duncan as an agent is very serious… she has shown that she is not a fit and proper person to be registered as an agent.”

Judge Slattery fined Ms Marley-Duncan $7,500 and ordered her to complete an anger management course and further training in relation to ethical behaviour and her responsibilities as a land agent.

Ms Marley-Duncan was also barred from operating as a licensed land agent for six months, or until she had completed the training – whichever was longer.

“Regardless of whether or not you are a member of the Real Estate Institute of South Australia, there are clear rules that apply and clear expectations as to how you behave when conducting business,” Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said.

“All real estate agents are bound by the Code of Conduct, and are expected to act in an appropriate, professional manner.

“Her behaviour was unprofessional, offensive and abusive and I would hope that this outcome serves as a clear warning to all real estate agents and property managers to conduct themselves in a professional manner.”