N.B. strips real estate agents’ licenses for taking ‘egregious advantage’ of senior
New Brunswick’s financial and consumer services commission has stripped the licenses of two real estate agents after it was deemed they took “outrageous and egregious advantage” of a vulnerable senior citizen in the province.
Alaina Nicholson, the acting-director of consumer affairs — who functions as the commission’s regulatory body — has found that Tanya Hannah and Maurice Poirier, owners of Century 21 Absolute Realty Inc. in Moncton, N.B., are unsuitable to be licensed as real estate salespeople under the province’s Real Estate Agents Act.
Century 21 Real Estate says that Hannah and Poirier have not been affiliated with the company since August 2017.
“CENTURY 21 Canada recently learned of the allegations and disciplinary action against Tanya Hannah and Maurice Poirier,” the company said in a statement.
“At all times CENTURY 21 Absolute Realty Inc. was an independently owned and operated real estate brokerage and has no affiliation with any other CENTURY 21 Canada office.”
According to a release from the commission, in early 2013 the pair entered into a listing agreement with an unnamed senior citizen for the sale of his residential property.
After the property stayed on the market for a few months, Hannah reportedly purchased the property for $238,000 instead of its listed price of $324,900.
The deal also involved the senior providing an interest-free loan and a “substantial” $138,000 renovation credit to Hannah in return for a $100,000 collateral mortgage against the property.
The senior would also receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 that would partially cover his rent.
By the end of the deal, the commission says documents show that the senior received less than $17,000 in rent payments for the sale of the property.
It was a deal that the regulator deemed “took extreme financial advantage of the senior.”
“It is clear that they gained substantially from the transaction to (the senior’s) detriment,” the regulator wrote in her decision.
“He lost his home, his only asset, and was provided with nothing more than a year-and-a-half’s rent.”
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Since 2013 the senior had designated Poirier the executor, trustee and sole beneficiary under his will while Hannah was appointed as the alternate executor, trustee and beneficiary.
The senior was admitted to hospital on April 2, 2015, after being brought in to the emergency department by the RMCP and was found to be in a state of “serious self-neglect” and had suffered an illness present for at least a year or two.
The senior has since been found to be mentally incompetent and the province’s public trustee — the government agency set up to protect the personal and financial interests of New Brunswick ‘s vulnerable people — has stepped in to represent his interests.
They since filed a motion to revoke the will that gave Poirier and Hannah power of attorney and made them executors of his will. They’ve also begun a civil action on the senior’s behalf in order to recoup the money owed on the collateral mortgage between the senior and Hannah.
The commissioner wrote in her decision that she had “substantial concerns” about the pair.
“Were I to licence Poirier and Hannah again [I have concerns] that they may use their position as licensed real estate salespeople to again benefit financially to the detriment of their potential clients,” she said.
Her report also found that neither Hannah nor Poirier had taken responsibility for their actions and seem to be unaware of the “precarious position” they put the senior in.
As a result of the decision, the pair cannot re-apply to be licensed until Feb. 5, 2019.
A call to Poirier and Hannah was not immediately returned.
The commission says that Poirier has since filed a motion to appeal the decision with New Brunswick’s financial and consumer services tribunal.
A date has yet to be set for the appeal.
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