I think there needs to be a spot to discuss shady things that happen in the real estate industry so that we can warn others to not let the same thing happen to them. That is what I am going to do today.
I was at a friend's going away party last night; he is headed to Nigeria for a few months and there was a gathering to send him off. Mid way through the evening my friend that is going away introduced me to his friend who had a real estate horror story!! I could not believe what I was told could happen but it did. It is criminal! My friend says "Tim this is my friend Chris, his realtor rented his townhouse on AirBnB while he was out of town without his permission".
That was the intro, you could imagine my shock! So there I am just waiting to hear the story but at the same time I'm thinking about how much of an idiot this other realtor is and how he is tarnishing our industry by doing something like this. No wonder people do not trust realtors, how many people do you think are going to hear about the story of a realtor renting a swanky townhouse out on AirBnB while the owner was away?
Now even if this story is not totally true, or we haven't heard the side of the realtor it does not matter. This is the story that is being discussed at a gathering of around 30 people, it does not matter anymore if it isn't true, everyone is going to leave there thinking it is and thinking that realtors are scandalous.
So here's the story. The townhome is located in downtown Calgary in a new development called the Drake. The selling realtor was leaving town for a few weeks or months, not 100% sure on that time frame but while he is gone the listing realtor decides to list the seller's property on AirBnB without his permission. The seller's good friend happens to live in the same building as him and was surprised to see the lights on in his unit so he texted the seller and asked if he was back in town. He gave him a hard time and suggested that the seller was not away but just trying to hide from his friends but that wasn't the case. The seller was actually in Africa and the people in his condo were tenants from AirBnB.
With a little research the listing was found on AirBnB. The people were in the seller's unit for several nights and this was confirmed by the seller's friend who had to walk by the unit to get to his house. The seller thinking that this is totally messed up decides to return to Calgary and decides to show up unannounced. When the seller returns to Calgary there are actually renters in his townhouse. So here the seller is sitting in his car, outside his townhome looking in at other people in his place. He then calls his listing realtor and says that he is home and that he wants to get into his place. The listing realtor makes all kinds of excuses as to why the seller can't go and the seller pretends he does not have a key to the house.
The following night the same thing happens and the seller says he is going into the property. At this time the listing agent tells him it is rented for 4 days and that he will give the money to the seller from the rental. The seller is obviously pissed but maintains his cool. So at the end of the 4 days the seller goes into the unit and since he has been gone his bed was broken, his granite is scratched and there is damaged to his floors. He tells the selling realtor about this and the realtor says that it was like that before he left. Eventually the listing realtor agrees that maybe the bed was broken by the tenants and says that AirBnB will cover the damages. This never happens.
So the seller wants his home taken off the market, can you imagine not doing that? The selling realtor says his 'broker' won't take the listing off the market because it is the brokerage's listing and that the realtor does not have the last say. Although there is some truth to this comment I doubt the selling realtor told his broker why the seller wanted to de-list his property. Infuriated the seller calls the broker and explains the situation. The broker says he will talk to the listing realtor about the situation.
4 days go by before the seller is told that the listing is taken off the market. 4 days! In a situation like this I know our brokerage would have the listing off the market immediately and would do anything they could to make sure there wasn't a backlash from the seller.
The story continues, so now the listing is off the market but the listing realtor approaches the seller and tells him that in the contract he has written in that if the listing does not sell that the seller will pay the listing realtor $2500 for his efforts. Insane! The listing realtor places his proeprty on AirBnb illegally, the seller terminates the listing with just cause and the selling realtor asks for a payment of $2500 for his efforts to sell his home. This to me is totally nuts. The selling realtor should be happy that the seller has not reported him to CREB, AREA , the cops and the news media. Instead he hits him up for $2500 for his time and effort in selling his home? Seriously?
So the seller says well you rented my place I want the money. The home was rented for $400 a night on AirBnB of which the selling realtor gave him $150 a night and then charged the seller a $250 cleaning fee. The whole time this story is being told to me I am in shock. I can not even believe this would happen and then the seller carries on telling the story. The selling realtor threatens to put a lean on the seller's home if he does not pay him the $2500 he says he owed. WTF? You are going to lean his house after you rented it out illegally while the seller was away? This realtor deserves everything that he has coming.
Have you heard of anything like this before? I have not! This is so scandalous. Please do not judge all realtors the same if this has happened to you.