TenantsTips / Australia / Are you on a Tenants database?

Are you on a Tenants database?

The purpose of a tenant database is to help landlords, agents and estate agents to avoid entering into agreements with tenants who have previously performed negatively in terms of their rental agreements.

What is a tenant database?

A tenant database is a record of information about tenants compiled by database operators for private companies. The information is collected from landlords, real estate agents and residential park operators who report or ‘list’ tenants who are considered in a negative light.

The purpose of a tenant database is to help landlords, agents and estate agents to avoid entering into agreements with tenants who have previously performed negatively in terms of their rental agreements. Landlords, agents and park operators can subscribe to tenant databases. This allows them to both add information about negative tenant experiences and also to check listings for information about potential clients.

Who compiles tenant databases?

Tenant databases are compiled by database operators for private companies who operate for profit. These companies are completely separate to credit score agencies, as their sole purpose is to provide information relating to tenant performance.

Database operators in Australia:

The main tenant database operator in New South Wales is TICA. Other operators include Trading Reference Australia, Barclay MIS and National Tenancy Database.

Making a listing:

Before a landlord is able to add a listing to a database they are obliged to follow the correct procedure. This includes the following steps:

 

  • The landlord must supply the tenant with a copy of the information they intend to list.

 

(Where contact has not been possible they must take necessary steps to disclose the information).

 

  • The landlord must give the tenant 2 weeks to respond.

 

If the landlord fails to follow this procedure they can be fined up to $2,200.

Once a tenant is made aware of a landlord’s intention to make a listing they have the opportunity to oppose this action. A tenant may object to the listing on the grounds that the information is ambiguous, incomplete or inaccurate.

Restrictions on listings:

No person has licence to create a listing in a tenant database unless it is at the request of a landlord, agent or other person involved in real estate and rentals. All listings must be created following correct procedure.

Applying for a tenancy:

If a potential landlord is made aware that you are listed on a tenant database they have a duty to inform you of this within one week of receiving the information. The landlord should provide you with the information uncovered including:

 

  • The details of the landlord that listed you.
  • How to contact the database operator where you are listed.
  • How you might get the listing removed or amended.

 

Information about listings:

Can I contact a landlord about a listing?

Yes. If you become aware that you have been listed in a database you can contact the landlord who made the listing and request a copy of the information concerned. This information is free of charge and must be provided within 2 weeks of your request.

Can I contact a database operator about a listing?

Yes. If you send an operator a written request they are obliged to provide you with a copy of any information they hold about you. However, you may need to contact more than one operator to find out which one has listed you.

Removed/ amended listings:

If a landlord is aware of a listing that is out of date or inaccurate they have a duty to contact the database operator in writing and request the removal or amendment of the information. If the database operator fails to make the necessary changes within 2 weeks a fine of up to $2,200 may be served.

When does a listing expire?

After 3 years a listing expires and should be removed from the database by the operator.

Disputes:

If a dispute arises you can apply to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an order to amend or remove a listing about you. The outcome of the application will depend on the satisfaction of the NCAT that the listing is incomplete, out of date or unjust.

Further information:

Further information regarding tenant databases can be obtained from the following operators:

TICA

National Tenancy Database



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