Tenant databases are run by private companies. They collect, hold and give out information about tenants who real estate agents, landlords and residential park operators say are ‘bad tenants’.
If a tenant is listed on a tenancy database, in most cases it means an agent or landlord has reported the tenant for not having complied with the terms of a lease.
There are a few different companies running and maintaining these lists and most real estate agents subscribe to at lease one of them. The cost of this subscription is usually passed on to the landlord.
Tenancy databases are generally used by agents to screen prospective tenants to make sure they’re reliable and respectful of their rental property.
The most common reasons for a tenant to be listed on a database are:
Not paying rent
While the odd payment a day or two late is unlikely to earn a tenant a listing, consistently late payments might. If a tenant leaves a property with weeks or months of rent owing it should be assumed that they have earned a listing.
Damaging a property through neglect or recklessness is guaranteed to anger the landlord and their agent. While tenants are responsible for reasonable wear and tear in the ordinary use of their rental, they will typically be held responsible for other damage they cause and, if it is not rectified, could earn a listing.
If a landlord or agent uses a tenant database to assess rental applications, they must tell the tenant this in writing at the time the tenants applies, including:
- name of the database that the
- that the database is used for checking an applicant’s rental history
- database company’s contact details.
If the information listed about a tenant is out-of-date, inaccurate, incomplete or misleading in the eyes of the law, then the database company must make the changes to the listing or remove it completely within 14 days of receiving written notice.
The tenancy database is a very important way of making sure that only the best tenants are placed in an agency’s rental properties.