Tasmanian Government Logo
\'\'
\'Feature
 
CONTACT  |  DISCLAIMER
Link to the Tas government site

Residential Tenancy Databases

Residential tenancy databases contain information about tenants.  This information is used to screen tenants applying for rental accommodation. In October 2011 the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 was amended to regulate the use of tenancy databases.  The amendments came into effect on 1 January 2012 and contain requirements for the collection, use and disclosure of information in tenant databases. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are tenant databases?

Tenant databases are privately owned and commercially operated databases that are used by real estate agents to screen prospective tenants.  These databases are used across Australia, including in Tasmania. 

 

Why have they been regulated?

Information in tenant databases has the potential to severely impact on tenants' ability to secure housing.  For this reason, there is national agreement that tenant databases should be regulated to ensure that:

 

  • only appropriate and accurate information is listed;
  • tenants are informed where a listing occurs;
  • information is able to be corrected;
  • information is only held for an appropriate period; and
  • listings do not occur for trivial or vindictive reasons.
 

How have they been regulated?

Amendments made to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 in late 2011 incorporate nationally agreed model provisions to regulate tenant databases.

 

When can a listing occur?

Under the model provisions, a listing can only occur where there has been a breach of a residential tenancy agreement and because of that breach, either:

 

  •  the tenant owes an amount that is more than the security deposit; or
  •  there is a court order terminating the tenancy as a result of the breach.

 

What information can be listed?

 Information stored in a database can only relate to the breach.

 

How long can information be stored?

Information can be stored for up to three years.

 

How will I know if the property owner or agent uses a tenancy database to assess my application?

When you apply to rent a property, the property owner or agent must provide you with details of any tenancy database they use.  If the database contains information about you, the owner or agent must also notify you of this, including who listed the information and how you can have the information amended or removed.

 

How will I know if I have been listed?

Where information is added to a database, the property owner or agent or the database operator must give the person the subject of the listing a copy of the information listed or take reasonable steps to do so.  The person must be given 14 days to respond to the listing and any response must be considered.

 

How can I correct information?

If a property owner or agent becomes aware that information is inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out of date, they must, within seven days, advise the database operator that it needs to be corrected or removed.  The database operator must amend or remove the information accordingly.

 

What is 'accurate' and 'out of date' information?

Information that is 'inaccurate' includes information that indicates that a person owes an amount that is more than the security deposit but they have repaid the amount more than three months after it became due.

 

Where information is inaccurate, incomplete or ambiguous it must be amended so that it is no longer inaccurate, incomplete or ambiguous.

 

Information is 'out of date' if:

 

  • it indicates that a person owes an amount that is more than the security deposit but the amount has been repaid within 3 months of becoming due; or
  • the listing was made on the basis that there is a court order terminating the tenancy but this order has been revoked.

 

Where information is out of date it must be removed from the database.

  

Can I obtain a copy of information listed?

A person can request that the owner, agent or database operator provide a copy of any information they have listed about that person.

  

Can a fee be charged for providing a copy of information listed in a database?

A property owner or agent or a database operator may charge a fee for providing a copy of information listed as long as it is not excessive.  However, a fee cannot be charged for making an application for information.

 

How are disputes about information resolved?

A person affected by a listing can apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner for an order enforcing compliance with the tenant database provisions.  Where the Commissioner considers that information in a database is inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out of date, the Commissioner can make an appropriate order.

 

How has the Act been amended?

A new Part 4C 'Residential Tenancy Databases' has been inserted (see sections 48U-48ZF).

 

When did the tenant database requirements commence?

The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 was amended in October 2011 to regulate the use of these databases.  The amendments came into effect on 1 January 2012.

 

Back to top