Tenancy databases are highly important in any PM business, but gaps and changes in legislation have made them less efficient, say property management experts.
Realmark corporate director of property management Sara Young said she finds tenant databases very useful and uses them constantly.
“However, I think with the changes last year to the Residential Tenancy Act in relation to databases it has lessened the efficiency of it,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“Any database is only as good as the people that use it, so a lot of the time when problem tenants vacate there are restrictions over what you can post on the database.
“We are seeing fewer property managers now actually recording defaulting tenants on there, so therefore the efficiency of these databases isn’t what they use to be in my opinion,” she added.
Ms Young said you can’t beat the “gut-feeling” when deciding on a tenant.
“But thoroughly check your applications – look on REIWA … put your detective hat on and do a bit of research,” she said.
“I think it is up to all of us as an industry to start becoming more diligent in recording people on the databases to get them up to the standard they need to be.”
Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, BWT trainer and business consultant Heidi Walkinshaw said it is really important that agencies use tenancy databases in their process as part of a duty of care to their landlords.
“There is the National Tenancy Database, Trading Reference Australia – which we use within our own business and is fantastic – and there is also TICA, which I have used in the past and it is also fantastic,” she said.
“However, there is the element when using these sites that it also relies on input from other agents to actually list defaulting tenants onto these sites.
“While they are fantastic sites to use to find out if somebody is listed, there is also that downfall that they may have defaulted in the past but the agency may not have listed them on that site.
“There is that gap that can occur from time to time if people are not careful,” she added.
Due to these gaps, Ms Walkinshaw said it is imperative that property managers thoroughly check applications – including personal references, work references and previous rental history.
“If anything doesn’t seem right there is always that ‘go with your gut’ instinct, so if it doesn’t feel right then it is probably not okay,” she said.