A realtor with Richmond-based New Coast Realty has been fined $8,000 and suspended 45 days by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.
In an agreed statement of facts both Xiao Zhong (Jordan) Guo and his company, Jordan Guo Personal Real Estate Corporation, were cited for professional misconduct for more than a dozen infractions of the Real Estate Services Act involving properties in Burnaby, Richmond and West Vancouver.
The misconduct included everything from failing to disclose that he was acting for both sides in a property sale to trying to flip a multi-million dollar Richmond property before he legally owned it.
Representing both buyer and seller
In a 2015 case involving the sale of a Burnaby property Guo was found to have backdated contracts, failed to provide required strata documentation, and failed to provide records to his managing broker.
He also acted as agent for both the buyer and seller without disclosing he was doing so to either party, according to the documents.
At that time it was acceptable for a realtor to act on behalf of a buyer and seller — a practice known as double agency — but only if agreed to by all parties.
Earlier this month the new B.C.'s new superintendent of real estate introduce new rules to ban the practice that will take effect in January 2018.
Guo's actions came to light after the property owner, who was leasing to Guo at the time, complained that Guo had assigned the lease to a new buyer without informing, or getting consent, from the actual owner.
"Licensees must act honestly and with reasonable care and skill," the disciplinary decision says.
"Mr. Guo's actions show that he failed to do this."
Another transaction involved a Minoru Boulevard property in Richmond, listed for sale at $7.9 million.
Guo acted as a buyer's agent on behalf of a company — Vancouver JIA Construction Limited — making an offer of $7.5 million to buy the property.
But Guo owns JIA Construction and did not disclose that fact to the seller.
In April 2015 the offer was conditionally accepted.
That same day Guo circulated a brochure advertising the property for sale by assignment for $7.9-million, without telling the original seller.
In May 2016 the B.C. Government introduced new rules around the practice of contract assignment — sometimes called "shadow flipping" — meant to stop anyone other than the original seller of a property from benefiting from the practice.
Fines now stiffer
Around the same time an investigation into practices at New Coast Realty was launched by the Real Estate Council of B.C.
In September of 2016 the province changed the limit on the maximum fine an individual realtor can face for misconduct from $10,000 to $250,000.
But that happened after Guo's infractions.
So Guo's fines and suspension were levied under the old system for misconduct predating the amendment.