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April 19, 2022

Everything You Need To Know About Tenant Database “Blacklists”

Being added to a tenant database, sometimes known as a “blacklist”, is a serious concern for many renters, but the good news is that it isn’t as common as you might think.

We find out what being added to a tenant database involves, how common it is, and what to do if it happens to you.

What is a tenant “blacklist”?

Also known as a tenancy database, this is a list where landlords or property managers record information about tenants who have had problems with a previous tenancy. Landlords and real estate agents may use a tenancy database to help decide whether to lease a property to a prospective tenant or not. Tenancy databases are run by private companies, not the government, and they’re subject to certain rules.

  • Only tenants named on the lease can be listed on a tenant database – other occupants, whether approved or not, cannot be listed.
  • Tenants can only be added to a tenancy database once their lease has ended.
  • Tenancy database companies must not keep listings longer than three years.

How do you end up on a tenant database?

You can only be listed on a tenant database if your tenancy has ended in one of these situations:

  • There’s money owing. If the amount owing at the end of the lease is greater than the bond and:
    • The money owed under a conciliation agreement or Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) order is not paid on time, or
    • You’ve been served with a ‘Notice to remedy breach’ for rent arrears, and you haven’t remedied the breach, or
    • You’ve abandoned the property (unless the dispute is currently subject to a QCAT ruling).

If no bond was paid, you can only be listed if the amount owing exceeds one week’s rent.

  • QCAT has terminated your lease because of objectionable behaviour.
  • QCAT has terminated your lease because of repeated breaches of your tenancy agreement.

There is an exception in situations of domestic and family violence. If a breach results from the actions of a perpetrator’s violence, QCAT can make an order that a person must not be listed on a tenant database. The perpetrator, however, can be listed.

How do you find out if you’re listed on a tenancy database?

If a property owner or manager plans to add a tenant to a database, they must advise the tenant in writing (or at least take reasonable measures to do so) with details about the proposed listing before the listing can be made. So, if you’re on a tenant database, there’s a good chance you’re already aware of it.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve been listed or not, you can contact database companies directly to find out if you’re listed and, if so, why. Database companies will often charge a fee to provide this information, including via phone lines that charge by the minute. Two of the biggest database companies are Tenancy Information Centre Australasia (TICA), and National Tenancy Database.

If you’re on a tenant database, what can you do about it?

If you find out you’re about to be listed, or you’ve already been listed, and you disagree with the listing, you can challenge it.

The first step is to try and reach an agreement with the person making the listing. They have seven days to amend an inaccurate, incomplete, unclear or out of date listing.

If that doesn’t sort the issue out, you can lodge a dispute resolution request with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). This service can help negotiate an agreement about a tenancy database listing, especially a proposed listing. Or you can apply directly to QCAT to order the landlord, property manager, agency or tenancy database company not to make the listing or vary it as appropriate.

If you’re initiating a dispute about a tenancy database listing because it doesn’t meet the approved criteria, you must do so within six months of becoming aware of the listing.

How common is it for renters to be listed on a tenancy database?

Although research conducted by consumer advocacy group CHOICE revealed that 50% of renters are worried about being added to a tenant database, only three per cent of tenants surveyed had ever been listed. Happily, most tenants comply with the terms of their lease and will never be listed.

From a landlord’s point of view, it’s good to check a tenant database if you’re assessing a new tenant, but as the statistics above show, it’s not common to find tenants listed on these databases.

Are you searching for your next Toowoomba rental home or looking for a property manager for your Toowoomba investment property? We can help. Get in touch with our expert local team today.

Article by Katie Knight

Some may say real estate is in Katie’s blood having joined real estate following her father, Ian Knight, into the industry where he had pioneered the path of real estate in Toowoomba in the late ‘80s and opened the ninth regional RE/MAX office… View profile

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