A Perth real estate agent has been suspended for eight months over a racist email that left her former tenants “devastated” and a commissioner feeling “sick to my stomach”.
In one passage of the offending message, Mavin Real Estate director Bronwyn Pollitt claimed she hoped migrants moving to Australia “will not turn our beautiful country into the filth that is India”.
In another section of the 2021 email, Pollitt said Australian living standards and expectations were different to the “overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller (sic) of many other countries including India”.
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Pollitt was deemed unfit to hold a real estate licence when the matter went before the State Administrative Tribunal last week.
She told the tribunal she had reflected on her actions and agreed to undertake training and weekly mentoring during her suspension. She has also issued the former tenants a written apology.
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It is understood the offensive email followed a dispute over a security bond.
Consumer Protection led the charge against the Victoria Park agent when the vile comments were raised with them.
Commissioner of the state government body, Trish Blake, said the tribunal’s decision showed “offensive and sickening racist commentary” would not be tolerated.
“Any property manager who holds these views and acts on them is not a fit person and we will take action,” she said.
Bronwyn Pollitt has been suspended over a racist email sent to her former tenants. Credit: Supplied
House hunters from overseas have shared experiences where they were told properties were not available despite clearly still being on the market, and times when they were simply not given a look in.
Blake said “subtle biases” had been made apparent in the past, but claimed that the type of “overt racism” shown by Pollitt was a first.
“When I first saw this email, I felt sick to my stomach. There is no other description for it other than offensive,” she said.
‘Shouldn’t be allowed back’
“Consumer Protection is drawing a line in the sand. This kind of conduct is not going to be tolerated in this industry.
“We believe that the real estate industry itself will stand with us on this because there are a lot of good property managers and real estate agents out there doing the right thing. They won’t want to be tarnished by this conduct.
“Tenants — if you have evidence of this, please come and tell us. We will stand with you, and we will take action where we can.”
Consumer Protection commissioner Trish Blake said the tribunal’s decision was a “line in the sand” moment that showed racist commentary would not be tolerated. Credit: 7NEWS
Blake said authorities challenged Pollitt’s right to hold a licence through SAT because there is no racism offence in the real estate act or in the residential tenancies act.
“The decision on how long the suspension is, is one for the tribunal,” she said.
Blake said agents had been banned for life in the past, but that was for other offences, including stealing.
Ethnic community advocate Suresh Rajan has called for police to investigate.
“I don’t believe someone like this should be allowed back in the industry,” he said.
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