Privacy Guidelines - Tenancy Applications
Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner produced a new set of guidelines outlining what information should, and should not, be collected by landlords when deciding whether someone will make a suitable tenant. This follows an earlier attempt back in May which was done without consultation with the industry, and which caused a bit of controversy, and was largely unworkable. The intention is to make sure Landlords only collect information about a prospective tenant that is relevant to assessing their suitability to live is a property. It should not ask their life history, or what they spend their money on - however, if a tenant chooses to supply information such as their current expenses, it is their prerogative to do so.
So, what are the new guidelines?
We can ask the tenant for the following information:
Name and contact information
Proof of identity
Whether the individual is 18 years of age or older
Expected length of tenancy
Contact details for landlord and non-landlord references
Consent for a criminal record check (for a preferred tenant)
Consent for a credit report (for a preferred tenant)
Number of occupants to live in the property
Once we have identified our preferred applicant/s, we can then collect the following additional information:
Relevant criminal record check
Date of birth
Contact details of an emergency contact person
Vehicle information (if necessary to provide for parking on the property).
Proof of income
However, you should not collect any of the below:
Nationality, ethnicity, origin or citizenship
Physical or mental disability or illness
Personal beliefs or opinions
Marital and family status
Gender and sexual orientation
Rent paid previously
Proof of insurance
Broad consent to collect information from “other sources”
We didn’t have much to change on our application forms to be consistent with the guidelines - which is great! – but we have changed our process slightly so we are collecting further information at various stages of the tenant selection process.
If you have any questions about these new guidelines, more information can be found here on privacy.org.nz.
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