Got milk? Agent fined $15K for guzzling homesellers’ carton

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Real estate agents become their clients’ trusted advisors over the course of a few months, and develop relationships that sometimes span decades. Would you be willing to risk that relationship for a cold glass of milk?

That’s what happened to one real estate agent in British Columbia, Canada, last summer when he couldn’t control his own cravings, and now he’s paying about $15,000 to rectify his actions.

Mike Rose, an agent with Royal LePage Kamloops Realty, was caught red handed in the act of drinking milk directly out of a container at a home he was showing on July 16, 2022 in the city of Kamloops after his seller reviewed footage from the home’s Ring camera.

In response, the British Columbia Financial Services Authority, a government agency that regulates the province’s financial institutions, ruled Rose’s behavior “unbecoming” on July 18 and fined him 20,000 Canadian dollars as well as 2,500 Canadian dollars in enforcement expenses, according to records.

Mike Rose

“I would publicly like to offer a most sincere apology for my actions,” Rose said in a statement sent to local news outlet CFJC Today.

Rose went on to call his decision “very unfortunate” and “very uncharacteristic.”

“I have never done this kind of thing before, nor will I ever behave in this way again,” Rose continued. “I acted in a way that is unbecoming of my brokerage firm and my fellow Realtors. I broke the trust of the homeowners whose house I was showing. Although I have apologized directly to the homeowners, I know that actions like this are not quickly forgiven nor easily forgotten. I will be spending the next few weeks considering my actions, better understanding why I would do this, and work to ensure this kind of behavior never occurs again.”

Rose did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Inman.

After the homeseller Lyska Fullerton and her family left the house for the day so that Rose could do what they thought would just be one showing, Rose later informed the family that he had been able to arrange another showing. That’s what initially prompted Fullerton to review her Ring footage from the day — to try and see how the second, unexpected home showing went.

Instead, she witnessed Rose’s milk-guzzling actions, which left her “utterly speechless, in shock and creeped out,” Fullerton told The Washington Post.

The footage revealed Rose going into the home for the showing about 30 minutes before the potential buyers arrived. He walked into the kitchen, pulled open the window blinds, opened the fridge, and proceeded to pull out a carton of milk and take a good, long swig. Then, Rose returned the milk to the fridge and shut the door.

To add insult to injury, the camera footage also showed Rose sitting on the Fullerton’s couch during the home showing and breaking the couch’s arm.

“This was unprofessional in so many ways,” Fullerton told The Washington Post. “Every part of it was just such an invasion of privacy and such an invasion of our home.”

She added that Rose’s milk-drinking move felt particularly insulting because of its unhygienic nature in the wake of a global pandemic that had killed both her and her husband’s parents.

“In what world do you think that this is ever okay to do?” Fullerton said. “I wouldn’t even do that in my own family’s home.”

The order from the British Columbia Financial Services Authority reported that Rose told the agency he was “unusually dehydrated” the day of the incident because of a new medication he had started taking, and was also under “considerable stress.”

Two days after The Fullertons’ milk had been compromised, Rose and the prospective buyers returned to the house for a second showing. At that time, Fullerton confronted the agent and asked if he wanted to tell her anything about his last stop at the house. “The milk?” Fullerton said Rose replied.

After that, Rose reported him.

“It doesn’t bother me that he drank milk,” she told The Washington Post. “I mean, maybe he had an upset stomach, for all I know. But to do it in that way? He didn’t even leave a note or tell us this happened. I had to find out because of my camera, and that’s just gross and plain wrong.”

“It makes you question your trust in people who visit your home,” she later added.

Ultimately, it was that violation of trust that got Rose in the most trouble. In the British Columbia Financial Services Authority’s order, the agency said Rose’s actions violated statues in the British Columbia Real Estate Services Act, which defines “unbecoming” behavior as that which “undermines public confidence in the real estate industry” and “brings the real estate industry into disrepute.”

But after all that, that second group of prospective buyers purchased the home, and the Fullertons moved out of the house later that month.

And the jug of milk? It went straight to the trash.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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