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Canberra real estate agencies declare over $46k of unclaimed money

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has revealed that more than $46,000 of unclaimed money resides with real estate agencies across the city of Canberra. 

In terms of the quantities held by individual agencies, the figures can range from as little as 10 cents to almost $9,000, Domain reports. 

A total of 63 unclaimed sums were listed in an annual notice published via the ACT Legislation Register, which was collated by the commissioner for fair trading. 

According to a spokeswoman for Access Canberra, the figure accounts for money that is being held by a licensed agent in their trust account on behalf of another person but has not yet been paid to them. 

"There are many reasons why an agent may have unclaimed money, for example the owner of the funds may have moved and the agent cannot locate them, or the funds may relate to a deceased estate," she commented.

Included among the list are 13 separate amounts of over $1,000 - and ten are worth either $10 or less. It is thought that 16 of the people or groups affected from the total of 63 are listed as unknown. 

The Agents Act 2003 does not outline steps for real estate agents to follow, according to the spokeswoman, but Access Canberra recommends that agents take reasonable steps to attempt to contact the owners of the funds to arrange payment. 

"As this is not always possible, the Agents Act 2003 requires an agent to declare any unclaimed money that is being held in their trust account," the spokeswoman commented. 

Ron Bell, chief executive officer of the Real Estate Institute ACT, said most real estate transactions were dealt with efficiently. With this in mind, he called on agencies with unclaimed money to put as much effort as possible into trying to pass the amounts onto their rightful owners. 

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