Salesperson fined $14,500 for handling transaction monies 

CEAnergy_Salesperson Fined 20mar

Mar 2023 - 4 min read


From December 2021 to January 2023, six salespersons were convicted by the State Courts for unlawfully holding transaction monies for or on behalf of a party in the sale or purchase of any property situated in Singapore and the lease of HDB property. In this CEAnergy article, we review the actions of a landlord’s salesperson, who devised an elaborate scheme to deceive a tenant into transferring rent payments into the salesperson’s personal bank account.

In December 2018, a landlord appointed Koh Hong Kim, a registered salesperson with ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd then, to rent out her HDB flat. Koh secured a one-year lease of the flat from 22 December 2018 to 21 December 2019 at a monthly rental of $1,800. Subsequent lease renewals in 2020 and 2021 were also facilitated by Koh, with the arrangement for the monthly rent to be paid by the tenant into the landlord’s bank account.

On 21 July 2021, Koh, who was by then a registered salesperson with Huttons Asia Pte Ltd, sent a WhatsApp message to the tenant informing him that the landlord had complained that the rent was often paid late. After the tenant furnished evidence proving otherwise, Koh suggested that the landlord could have been mistaken and said that the landlord requested the monthly rent to be paid into another bank account instead.

According to Koh, the new bank account, which could be accessed using internet banking, would be more convenient for the landlord as he could check online whether the rent payment was received instead of going to the automated teller machine to do so and he had difficulties walking. When asked by the tenant, Koh said that the new bank account belonged to the landlord. All these representations made by Koh to the tenant were untrue. The truth was that the new bank account belonged to Koh. Moreover, the landlord had neither complained to Koh about receiving the rent late nor requested for the rent payment to be paid to a different bank account.

On 18 August 2021, the tenant proceeded to transfer the rent into the new bank account. Instead of forwarding the rent payment to the landlord, Koh used the money to pay for the medical expenses incurred by his father-in-law.

To compound matters, Koh sent another WhatsApp message to the tenant on 12 October 2021 and lied to the tenant that the landlord had asked for an advance payment of the rent. Koh further deceived the tenant that there would be a $100 discount for every month that the rent was paid in advance. Following Koh’s false representations, the tenant made an advance bank transfer of the rent for October 2021. Like before, Koh did not forward the rent payment that he had received to the landlord, and he used the money to pay for his father-in-law’s medical and funeral expenses.

Subsequently, the tenant filed a police report against Koh when the tenant discovered that the landlord did not receive the rent payments from August 2021 to December 2021. Koh subsequently made full restitution to the landlord in February 2022 after police investigations had commenced. He also paid an additional compensation sum of $300 to the landlord.

For handling transaction monies on behalf of the landlord between August 2021 and December 2021, Koh faced a total of six charges under Regulation 7(1)(b) of the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010 of the Estate Agents Act (Cap. 95A) (the “Regulations”), punishable under Regulation 7(3) of the Regulations.

Koh, who was no longer a registered salesperson, pleaded guilty to two proceeded charges, with the remaining four charges taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. He was convicted by the State Courts on the two proceeded charges and a fine of $7,250 per charge, amounting to $14,500, was imposed on him.

Industry Perspective 
By Benson Leow
Exco Member, Singapore Estate Agents Association


As a salesperson, it is important to familiarise yourself with the professional standards required of estate agents and salespersons when carrying out estate agency work as set out in the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care. It is the salesperson's duty to protect the client's interest and treat all parties involved in a property transaction honestly and diligently.


Salespersons are prohibited from handling transaction monies for or on behalf of any party, in the sale or purchase of any property situated in Singapore and the lease of HDB property. Likewise, clients should not hand transaction monies to their salespersons or make such requests to them. In this case, the tenant should have paid the rent directly to the landlord and not through the salesperson.


Salespersons must refrain from making false statements. At all times, they should maintain high professional standards and carry out their work with honesty, fairness, competency, and integrity. One way to do so is to seek constant improvement through attending Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses so that they have the skillsets and critical competencies to perform their duties effectively.


Information accurate as at 23 Mar 2023

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