While tenancy databases can be a valuable information resource, property managers have been told to be wary of unfair listings.
Fair Trading NSW commissioner Rod Stowe said property managers are justified in using tenancy databases to assess applications – provided they adhere to legislative requirements.
The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 says there are only two reasons tenants can be listed in a tenancy database.
One reason is if their tenancy agreement has been terminated by order of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The other reason is if they owed an amount exceeding the rental bond for a breach of the tenancy agreement that is still outstanding at the time of the listing.
“The Residential Tenancies Act brings fairness and transparency to the use of tenancy databases,” Mr Stowe said.
“Sadly, unfair listings are not unheard of. While the legislation recognises the right of landlords to take steps in protecting their property, being listed on a tenancy database can have serious consequences for the person listed.”
Before a listing can be made, the tenant must be given at least 14 days’ notice to review the information and be able to object to the proposed listing.
If a prospective tenant is found on a database by a property manager, the property manager must inform the tenant in writing within seven days of the database being accessed. Outdated listings or listings older than three years must be removed from a database.
A tenant can dispute proposed or existing listings in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal if the matter could not be solved with their property manager or landlord.
[Related: How to avoid problem tenants]