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Storey & Gough issues its clients with a regular newsletter which highlights developments which have taken place in the firm. Our latest issue can be viewed below:
June 2015

What are my options if I find myself listed on a tenant database?

The majority of tenants will probably not face any issues relating to their period of tenancy. However, there may be instances where problems may arise, and a tenant may find themselves on a tenant database used by real estate agents or landlords when making an application for a rental property. For any tenant who may have some questions in relation to the database, this piece will attempt to answer some of the more common enquiries relating to the tenant database.

What is a tenant database?

A tenant database provides information to landlords and real estate agents about the rental history about a person who has submitted an application to rent a property.

What information is held on a tenant database?

Real estate agents or landlords can only list information on the tenant database under the following circumstances:

  • the person was a tenant as classified under a residential tenancy agreement and that the agreement was terminated; and
  • the person had breached their agreement; and
  • due to the breach, the person may owe an amount greater than the rental bond, or the relevant body has issued a termination order; and
  • the information on the tenant database accurately, completely and unambiguously specifies the nature of the breach.

Can the landlord or real estate agent place a person on a tenant database without informing the person?

Landlords or real estate agents generally cannot list a person on a tenant database without first providing a tenant with an outline of the information they want listed, or take reasonable steps to provide the information to be listed to the tenant. In addition to providing the tenant with the relevant information to be listed, the real estate agent or landlord must give a tenant no less than 14 days to review and to respond to the information to be listed. Finally, if the tenant provides a response, the real estate agent or landlord must consider that response.

Personal information cannot be listed by a database operator unless requested by a real estate agent or landlord, and the information listed must also be made in accordance with the criteria contained in the previous paragraph.

How can a tenant find out if they have been listed on a tenant database?

If either a landlord or a real estate agent is aware that an applicant is listed on a tenant database when assessing an application, they are then required to provide notice within seven days, and they must also undertake the following:

  • inform the applicant they are listed on the database;
  • the particulars of the landlord or real estate agent who has listed them on the database;
  • provide information to the applicant about their right to seek a copy of the information from the person;
  • provide information on how to contact the operator of the database to determine the type of information held; and
  • how the applicant can remove or amend the information contained on the database.

Inaccurate listings

Upon learning that a listing is inaccurate, incomplete or ambiguous, either the landlord or real estate agent must provide written notice to the database operator within seven days to amend the information. For information that is out-of-date, written notice must be provided to the database operator requesting the information be amended or removed.

What if a person wishes to dispute their listing on a tenant database?

For anyone who wishes to dispute a listing, they can contact the relevant Tribunal for an order that the information is inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out-of-date. Alternatively, the person can also dispute that the information on the database is unjust in relation to the surrounding circumstances of the listing. The relevant Tribunal can make an order that the information about the person to be wholly or partially removed, amended, or no longer to be listed on the database.