In the recent case of Outerbridge trading as Century 21 Plateau Lifestyle Real Estate v Hall [2020] NSWCA 205the Court of Appeal considered who was entitled to commission where two agents were involved in a sale. In 2012, Hall (the Seller) engaged various real estate agents, including Unique, to sell their property. In 2015, Hall then entered into a written Agency Agreement with Century 21, another real estate company. The Agreement provided that commission was payable to the Agent if they were the effective cause of the sale, and the buyer had been introduced to the property through the Agent. In 2017, the ultimate purchaser contacted Century 21 and was shown the property. However, in late December 2017 the purchaser attempted to contact the Agent (Century 21), but the Agent was overseas and could not be contacted.

The purchasers then contacted Unique, who negotiated a contract for the sale of the property, following completion of which, Unique received a commission. On appeal, Century 21 claimed $108,086 for sales commission, arguing that they had originally introduced the purchaser to the property, before the purchaser contacted the second agent. The Court of Appeal held that Century 21 were not a cause of the sale due to the fact that  “mere introduction” of a purchaser to the property is insufficient to be an effective cause, and Century 21’s introduction had been exhausted when their Agent became uncontactable. The Court rejected Century 21’s claim for commission and dismissed the appeal with costs.

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