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Tenancy screening and "blacklists"

Hey folks,

We’re working on a story about the tenancy screening process and the use of databases or “blacklists”.

I’m curious to know about your experiences applying for rental properties and what sort of information agents wanted to obtain. What sort of information did they want and was there any information they asked for that you felt was unreasonable?

For example, does it seem reasonable to have to provide a copy of your credit report or criminal record check? Or what about an agent asking if you’ve ever been involved in a tribunal hearing with a landlord?

And for anyone who has checked a their own file on a tenancy database, was there anything that surprised you or concerned you about the process or the information they held on you?

Here’s our article on tenancy rights and blacklists:

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Hi
I will come from the other side of the equation.
And although I have not had direct experience of the so-called blacklist but i have been a Landlord for nearly 20 years and I can say they are needed because although most tenants have behaved as good tenants and met their obligations, I have unfortunately had a couple that did not and one was a absolute deadbeat who knew how to play the system. I would not wish him on any other Landlord and he deserves to be on a blacklist to ensure he doesn’t get another opportunity to screw someone.
Let me just say he was gone the house was a mess the carpets needed to be replaced as they were contaminated with dog faeces, he would never pay the rent and only when you get to a tribunal date he would pay just enough to stop the tribunal hearing the matter.
I finally got him evicted and he stole some fixtures on the way out. Police were useless they basically weren’t interested in the theft because they said it wasn’t worth there trouble. The bond didn’t even cover the arrears and the repairs were out of pocket. So now I insist all prospective tenants have a provable good rental history with references from reputable agents. I have a tenant now she has been in there 15 years and always pays on time and lets me know if anything needs attention which I resolve.

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Hey @tndkemp - thanks for your input!

Same here. Let’s just say tenant was economical with the truth, denied being late with rent or having problems with rental conditions even though it was all fully documented through two agencies - left my place in a mess, went to VCAT, decision against them, evaded debt collectors and managed to rent in an adjacent suburb under a different name. Also found out the tenant couldn’t account for nearly a million dollars of corporate money, for which they got a slap on the wrist from the Federal Court. I have no idea how some people can look themselves in the mirror …

It’s not like I was particularly well off - house was rented out due to ‘temporary’ move interstate with the expectation of a move back that never happened (another story). Every man and his dog does records checks these days, criminal or otherwise - yet housing seems such an emotional topic - yet its the biggest asset most people will ever have. The only way I’ll ever rent to someone again will be on exchange of their first-born as collateral …

Not forgetting that honest tenants are also the victims of dodgy tenants (I’ve seen both sides) and theres dodgy owners as well … its the horror stories that make the news and everyone ends up paying …

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I have similar experiences as tndkemp. Allow me to say that the good tenants I have are deserved of a discounted rent. Contrary to that is a recent experience with a tenant who was initially good but due to her circumstances And the failings of the concurrent Property Manager, I suffered a significant loss when the new Property Manager revealed damage caused by the tenant smoking inside the unit. And yes, the bond did not cover the necessary cleaning, repainting and loss of 3 - 6 weeks rent attributable to this circumstance.
So yes, so called ‘blacklists’ are a necessary record of interactions between landlords and tenants.

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Seven years after my ex walked out on us, when he had finally paid me the alimony, I rented a cheap place because it was the only place available in the small town where we lived. That made it very hard to move to anything better, because my ability to pay was apparently judged based only on that cheap rent.

Now after 14 years of paying on the dot or before the due day, therefore presumably considered a reliable tenant, I am trying to do the right thing by getting my housemate on the lease. So far, its been 2 months since he sent the application. Perhaps due to the landlord, but surely the agent does take some initiative in this? Every delay in action is always blamed on the landlord! A cover-up sometimes for a manager who can’t be bothered.

I’ve lived in three rental properties in the past 2.5 years, using two different agents. There haven’t been any surprises–standard forms in each case.

Living in a rural/regional area (Bega Valley, NSW) might make a difference? In each case, when I was looking, there were only 1-2 others wanting the same property.

The only issue I have had is proving I have enough income. I am on benefits at the moment, and rely on assets to have enough to pay rent. Since I can’t demonstrate a high enough income, I have had to include another person as co-lessee. So far, this has been my separated (now divorced) partner. I can’t imagine him wanting to do that again next time I have to move, so I’m not sure what I’ll do.

A good article appeared on the ABC news webpages about the Blacklisting issue. It highlights that this problem/issue isn’t going away. Nor is the protection of your rights in every State clear cut when you have a blacklisting with for example in the NT there is no requirement for the landlord/agent to inform you about them blacklisting you.

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Here are the rules on what real estate agents and landlords can list:

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