Winnipeg real estate agent suspended for a month for professional misconduct in 2018 sale

A Winnipeg real estate agent has been ordered to pay $6,000 in costs and temporarily suspended for failing to disclose accurate information about a condo dwelling to a buyer six years ago.

Rahim Omar Mirza brokered the sale of a Crescentwood condo to a woman without revealing foundation issues with the lower unit of the two-condo building, according to a settlement agreement between Mirza and the Manitoba Securities Commission filed with the Manitoba Financial Services Agency late last month.

According to the settlement agreement with the Manitoba government agency, Mirza showed the woman the condo on Oct. 12, 2018. She made an offer to purchase it that was accepted by the seller, whom Mirza was also representing. The offer was not subject to a home inspection.

The woman took possession of the condo on Nov. 14, 2018, and later became aware it had foundation issues.

She paid $34,535 to repair the foundation, according to her statement of allegations, which was filed with the commission last summer.

She met with the owner of the condo’s upper unit on March 3, 2019, who provided her with a home inspection report commissioned by a previous prospective buyer of the lower unit.

Inspection discovered foundation issues

An offer to buy the condo had been made on July 7, 2018, but it was subject to a home inspection.

A foundation contractor who carried out an inspection found problems with the front foundation wall, and the sale was cancelled.

Mirza was aware of the inspection, according to the settlement agreement, but he maintains he was not provided with a copy of the foundation contractor’s report.

However, in a text message to the buyer on Oct. 22 of that year, Mirza said he “just wanted to reiterate the fact that the condo building was 100% re-done in 2003 and the roof in 2015.”

Another message he sent her, three days later, said “we’ve had two other accepted offers since we listed [the condo] and those simply fell through because the buyers credit wasn’t good enough to get the mortgage.”

A window has a stylized logo of the letter M on it, with the words: The Manitoba Securities Commission below. In the foreground of the window is an office with a chair and desk.
A Manitoba Securities Commission panel approved a settlement agreement at a hearing on Dec. 28, 2023, stating it believed Mirza ‘committed professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming a registrant.’ (CBC)

The settlement agreement also says that the woman who bought the lower unit received copies of two emails between the person who owned the upper unit and the previous owner of the lower unit.

The June 12, 2018, email from the owner of the upper condo suite stated, “are we going to get that structural engineer to come in to look at the foundation?… I assume we do have some big structural issues so I was thinking that should be something we do regardless of who you may sell to.”

The July 13, 2018, reply from the then-owner of the lower condo suite stated, “Here I introduce Rahim Mirza, agent for the sale.… I don’t believe the structural issues will be so dire that I would be sued.”

When the commission asked Mirza about the buyer’s allegations, he said in a response dated Jan. 2, 2020, that he was unaware of any pre-existing structural or foundation issues from the seller.

Mirza reiterated that stance in an interview with two commission investigators on March 4, 2021.

Apologized for conduct ‘contrary to public interest’

In a letter to the commission on March 21, 2022, Mirza admitted he was dealing with stressful life events during the sale of the condo, which impacted both his work and his personal life.

“I sincerely apologize if I had fallen below the standard expected by the [commission] of a limited joint representation,” Mirza wrote in the letter.

He acknowledged his conduct in the transaction was “contrary to public interest.”

In August of 2020, the condo buyer filed a civil lawsuit in the Court of King’s Bench against Mirza and the previous owner. The matter was settled out of court, and the terms of the settlement are confidential, the settlement agreement with the Manitoba Securities Commission says.

A commission panel approved the settlement agreement at a hearing on Dec. 28, 2023, stating it believed Mirza “committed professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming a registrant.”

In a document outlining the reasons for its decision, the panel noted Mirza’s counsel had noted he has not been subject to any other complaints to the commission, and that he was remorseful for the way he had conducted himself.

The panel also noted that Mirza has separately reached a financial settlement with the buyer.

He was ordered to pay $6,000 to the commission in costs, and his registration as a real estate salesperson was suspended from Jan. 1 to 31 of this year.

Mirza also has to abide by other conditions of registration for one year, and is required to complete an education course before the end of January 2025.