In the current property market, where stock is generally limited, sellers should protect themselves from a double commission claim, according to an attorney from a leading law firm. This warning does not apply only to sellers with an open mandate. Even those with a sole mandate are at risk of a double commission claim, says Melanie Coetzee, a director at Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes. Double claims arise when a property is sold by Agent A to a buyer, Mr Jones, who was introduced to the property by Agent B. When Agent B hears that Mr Jones has bought the property, this agent claims commission on the basis that they were "the cause of the successful sale". The seller would be liable to pay both agents, even if the seller's sole mandate with Agent B has long expired. Coetzee says double claims are not uncommon. And in tough economic times, sellers tend to favour open mandates, where the risk of such claims is even higher. The appeal of an open mandate is that the seller gets multiple age...

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