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What questions can we ask prospective tenants?

July 15th 2019

In May this year the Office of the Privacy Commission released guidelines stating what can and can’t be asked of tenants applying for a home. Many of the questions noted in “almost never justified”, include details about current accommodation, age, and employment history. 

An example of one question that is seen as “almost never justified” is “current income verification”.  While we definitely never ask for a tenants bank statement, we do ask what their income is, for the purpose of determining if they can afford the rent of the property they are applying for. It is part of  our responsibility as property managers to be sure a tenant’s income will cover the rent and leave sufficient money for food, power etc. We rely on the tenants word for this, and don’t require proof .  

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said that "landlords are entitled to collect personal information where that is necessary for their lawful purpose of selecting a tenant."

We believe the questions we ask are comprehensive enough for the purpose of establishing a good prospective tenant, but not intrusive on a tenants privacy otherwise. We’ll watch the development of these guidelines with interest.


Let us know what you think of the proposed guidelines