Advice or support for community service workers assisting tenants.
When you apply for a rental property, landlords and real estate agents sometimes use tenant databases to check if you have been “blacklisted” by previous landlords or real estate agents.
Tenant databases are run by private companies who collect information about tenants and make it available to landlords, real estate agents and tenants, usually for a fee. Some database companies.
You can only be listed on a tenant database if:
You shouldn’t be listed on a tenant database if your name was not on the tenancy agreement.
You shouldn’t be listed on a tenant database if the tenancy agreement hasn’t ended.
You shouldn’t be listed on a tenant database unless the landlord or agent has:
If there is a listing about you which doesn’t meet the above requirements you can take steps to change or remove the listing.
If a landlord or agent usually uses a tenant database to assess rental applications, they must tell you in writing at the time that you apply, including:
If a landlord or agent finds you are listed on a tenant database, they must tell you in writing within 7 days, including:
If a landlord or agent wants to list you on a tenant database, they must:
A listing can stay on a tenancy database for a maximum of 3 years, but it must be removed sooner if it is “out-of-date” according to the law.
If the landlord or agent has threatened to “blacklist” you but their reasons are not lawful, you can apply to VCAT for an order to stop the landlord or database company from listing you on a database.
Most tenants are not listed.
There is no reason to check a tenant database unless you have reason to believe that you might be listed (for example, if a landlord has threatened to ‘blacklist’ you). Remember there are only two reasons that you can be listed. See: Why are tenants listed?
Landlords have to tell you if you are listed.
You have the right to know if you are listed on a tenant database and landlords have a duty to tell you. If your application for a rental property is rejected and you aren’t told why, you can send a written request to the landlord (or agent) asking which tenancy databases they checked and if they found any listings with information about you. They must tell you if they find a listing about you. And if a landlord wants to blacklist you, they should give you a copy of the information to be listed. See: What landlords have to tell you.
There are lots of database companies.
There isn’t just one tenant database that you can check. There are different database companies that have different information. If you don’t know which database company your landlord uses, you might waste your time and money checking the wrong one.
You might have to pay a fee.
Most database companies ask you to pay a fee for them to check if you are listed. The law says that landlords and database companies can charge a fee for giving you this information. But they can’t charge a fee for your request if they don’t give you any information. The law also says the fee must not be “excessive”. Some database companies provide this information for free, but they ask for a lot of your personal information before they give you any information.
Database companies want lots of your personal details.
Most database companies will ask you to give them more information than they end up giving you. They ask for personal details such as your date of birth, driver’s licence, Medicare or passport number, rental history, employment history and credit card information.
Be aware that some of these companies are also debt collectors. They may ask for your current address and use this for the purpose of debt collecting.
We recommend that you don’t contact database companies directly except as a last resort.
National Tenancy Database (ntd) is a division of Veda Advantage
1300 563 826
Tenant Information Centre of Australia (TICA)
TICA has a 1900 number for tenant enquiries that charges $5.45 per minute (higher from mobile and pay phones): Contact TICA
Tenant Reference Australia/Trading Reference Australia (TRA)
02 9363 9244
Veda Advantage Ltd.
Veda have an online form for tenant enquiries on their TenancyCheck website: Contact Veda
DataKatch Pty Ltd
03 9013 0133
A listing must be removed if it is more than 3 years-old or “out-of-date” (according to the law). A listing must be changed or removed if it is incomplete, unclear or “inaccurate” (according to the law). For tenancy law, “out-of-date” and “inaccurate” have set meanings (explained below).
If you are listed because VCAT has given the landlord a Possession Order and then:
If the information listed about you is out-of-date, inaccurate, incomplete or misleading:
The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 makes it an offence for a landlord or database company to make a listing in breach of the Act.