Resort agent wins five-year fight


Queenstown realtor David Penrose has finally won his five-year dual-pricing battle with an unhappy vendor.

Penrose has gone three rounds in the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal over an action brought by former Arthurs Point landowner Paul Weber.

Weber, described as “a leading American cancer surgeon”, alleged Penrose didn’t provide a “proper” appraisal of Weber’s bare land in July 2010.

The American listed 59 Atley Road with Penrose at $1.195 million - after paying $1.550m for it in 2007.

Weber claimed he’d told Penrose to hike the price by $100,000 if an unnamed wealthy neighbour showed interest - Penrose vigorously denied this.

Weber believed his neighbour would pay over market to prevent the land being subdivided.

At an earlier hearing, the tribunal said: “[Weber’s] concept of having two prices for the property i.e. one for the general public and a much higher one for the neighbour, was unrealistic, uncommercial and unworkable.”

Weber’s initial complaint to an “assessment committee” was tossed out in 2013, as was his subsequent first appeal to the tribunal - and he fared no better this month in his second appeal.

The latest verdict says Penrose’s appraisal of Weber’s property didn’t “provide any price guidance” but “an ‘assessment’ is a different concept from a valuation”.

Penrose “technically” breached the rules and could be considered guilty of “unsatisfactory conduct” but “we do not consider [he] failed the complainant overall with his appraisal advice”, the tribunal rules.

“We regard this complaint as at an end.”

Penrose is pleased: “It was really a vexatious claim.”

At the first appeal, the tribunal heard how Penrose’s fellow Sotheby’s agent Julian Brown approached Weber’s wealthy neighbour - who eventually paid the $1.195m listing price.

Sotheby’s also cut $5000 off their commission, effectively meeting Weber’s $1.2m and exceeding his listing price.

Penrose said in evidence he’d been unaware of Brown’s approach to the neighbour, and who was behind the offer to Weber. The tribunal specifically said it was satisfied about Penrose’s lack of knowledge prior to confidentiality being lifted.

Penrose’s victory evens out a loss in another disciplinary tribunal case last year where the Queenstown realtor was fined $5000.

The action centred on an allegation of artificially high rent for a Frankton commercial property.

Penrose didn’t foresee losses for the sellers but admitted “it would have been wise of me” to advise the property owner immediately.