Tenant ‘blacklisted’ another reason to regulate property management: REINZ

“Bad tenant” websites are not acceptable and their creation is another example of why property management should be regulated, according to the Real Estate Institute (REINZ).

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has announced he will review what information landlords request from applicants and what is then done with that data, after an increase in complaints.

The move came after a series of reports on several different landlord websites and Facebook groups giving access to lists or databases of people considered to be unwanted tenants.

Edwards expressed concern about certain practices, particularly at a time when pressure on tenants was high.

READ MORE:
* Privacy commissioner fears landlords are asking for too much information
* Landlords posting lists of “bad tenants” online could be breaking the law
* So how do you solve a housing crisis?

Real Estate Institute chief executive Bindi Norwell welcomed the privacy commissioner’s decision and said it was disappointing to hear that databases of ‘bad tenants’ were in the works. Creation.

It could be a violation of privacy law and there could also be defamation issues, as some of the listings apparently contain unverified information, she said.

“From what we know, we believe that most users of these websites are private landlords rather than property managers.

“We will be very clear with our members that the use of such a database is likely to be illegal and is not something we would consider acceptable.”

People working in the supply of rental properties needed to understand their obligations under the Privacy Act and respect the privacy of individuals, Norwell said.

This included the use of a two-step application process, recommended by the Privacy Commissioner, whereby more detailed information was not required until a potential tenant had been identified. as the preferred candidate.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards will review what landlords are asking potential tenants.

MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards will review what landlords are asking potential tenants.

The Privacy Commissioner’s guidelines on exactly what information landlords and property managers could and could not collect as part of the rental application process were also available to help.

Given that the existing guidelines were created following controversy over similar information-gathering issues two years ago, Norwell said it was disappointing to hear it was still an issue.

“With such a dearth of good rental properties to choose from, if people are operating outside of the guidelines, a potential tenant is unlikely to press charges for fear of retaliation – either on a specific property or on future properties. .”

That’s why it was important that regulation of the property management profession happen as soon as possible, she said.

The institute has long spearheaded a campaign to raise the standards of property managers, but in recent years that campaign has gained momentum amid growing calls to regulate the industry.

In last year’s election, the Labor Party campaigned on a promise to do just that, but so far nothing has happened.

PROVIDED

“Blacklisting” tenants is unacceptable and likely to be illegal, says REINZ’s Bindi Norwell.

Norwell said she wanted to hear an update on this from the government.

Meanwhile, the NZ Property Investors Federation has stressed that it does not believe tenant ‘blacklists’ are a fair or transparent way of finding out about a tenant.

NZPIF chief executive Sharon Cullwick said these listings were one-sided and probably related more to the relationship between landlord and tenant than to the tenant themselves.

“These listings can unfairly keep a tenant out of the market due to inaccuracies…The collection, retention and disclosure of personal information about tenants must be open and fair.”

However, the government’s tenancy law reforms, which come into force on February 11, will remove the ability for a landlord to end a tenancy on 90 days’ notice without cause, she said.

“Therefore, it is now even more important to screen tenants carefully and landlords will need to carry out additional checks. But a tenant can always refuse to give private information or answer intrusive questions.