Agents may claim commission payable as a result of a buyer inspecting the property whilst the property was listed with an agent, however, is this sufficient for the agent to be entitled to commission? The majority of contracts for sale contain a warranty that the buyer was not introduced to the property by any other person than the agent listed on the front page of the contract, with the effect of holding the buyer liable to reimburse the seller if an alternate agent claims commission. In the case of LJ Hooker v Adams (1977) the High Court ruled that to be entitled to commission and agent must be able to demonstrate that their introduction must be the “effective cause” of the sale. In the recent case of Outerbridge trading as Century 21 Plateau Lifestyle Real Estate v Hall (2019) the Court clarified what is deemed “effective cause” with 6 criteria. In ruling on the case and applying the criteria, the Court held that despite the fact that the agent played a “significant causal role” introducing the buyer to the property, holding inspections and reaching the point of a sale contract, the agent was not the “effective cause”. The intervention of the second agent that provided clarification on the seller’s price and resulted in the buyer increasing their offer, was deemed to be the effective cause and subsequently they were entitled to commission.

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