tmmonline.nz  |   landlords.co.nz        About Good Returns  |  Advertise  |  Contact Us  |  Terms & Conditions  |  RSS Feeds

NZ's Financial Adviser News Centre

GR Logo
Last Article Uploaded: Saturday, July 11th, 12:05PM

News

rss
Latest Headlines

Credit check ban unreasonable

Preventing landlords from running credit checks on prospective tenants - as mandated by new privacy guidelines - is not reasonable, tenancy experts say.

Thursday, May 23rd 2019, 2:40PM

by Miriam Bell

The Privacy Commissioner’s recently released guidelines on what landlords can and can’t ask people when selecting tenants are concerning landlords.

That’s because there are some stock standard tenant selection practices which are apparently ruled out by the new guidelines.

Prime among these is asking for authorisation to collect a credit report. According to the guidelines that is only “sometimes justified”.

Tenancy expert Scotney Williams, of tenancy.co.nz, says credit checks are a stock standard practice in the industry when selecting tenants.

“It is necessary to complete due diligence when placing a tenant into a tenancy and it is not reasonable to expect that landlords shouldn’t ask for them.

“For property managers, failing to run a credit check could be seen by the owner as negligence.”

He says the feedback they are getting is that this, along with other aspects of the guidelines, is confusing for both landlords and property managers.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell agrees that the suggestion that credit checks are ‘sometimes justified’ is of concern.

Landlords run a business and as part of that need to ensure tenants can meet their financial obligations, she says.

“Most REINZ property management members always perform a credit check as this is an expectation from landlords to ensure a person does not have a history of being unable to pay off debt.

“Failure to do this would potentially be negligent on a property manager’s part and could result in them losing the landlord’s business.”

Both Williams and Norwell point to the guideline’s prohibition on asking someone’s age and/or to see a drivers license number as areas of confusion.

When it comes to age, the Residential Tenancies Act requires a tenancy agreement to state whether a tenant is under the age of 18, so the guidelines mean it is unclear how a landlord can determine that.

As to drivers’ licences, the guidelines say it’s ‘almost never justified’ to ask for them, Williams says.

“Yet they are usually used as someone’s proof of identity and the guidelines say it is ‘always justified’ to ask for proof of identity.”

Additionally, there are discrepancies between the guidelines and the advice offered by different government departments.

Norwell says that on MBIE’s website, advice to landlords is that they can add extra conditions to the tenancy agreement if they relate to things that may damage the house or cause extra wear and tear.

“For example, not allowing the tenant to smoke in the house, yet the Privacy Commission’s guidelines state that asking whether a tenant smokes is only ‘sometimes justified’.”

Another example is the Ministry of Social Development recommendation to tenants that they give landlords a letter from their employer about their employment or show a bank statement showing regular income.

Yet both of these suggestions fall under the Commission’s ‘almost never justified’ category, Norwell says.

“If these discrepancies aren’t resolved, then it may result in an increased workload for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner if tenants complain unnecessarily.”

She adds they are disappointed the industry was not consulted on the guidelines but that, going forward, they’d like to work with the Commissioner to help ensure the guidelines are effective and can work in practice.

Likewise, Williams says his office is seeking further clarification on points on confusion in the guidelines.

“It is important for landlords and property managers to maintain high standards while complying with the Privacy Act and the Human Rights Act.”

Read more:

What landlords can’t ask tenants 

Proof rent can be paid crucial 

Tags: compliance landlords privacy property investment property management REINZ tenants

« What landlords can't ask tenantsNo extensions for insulation compliance »

Special Offers

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Sign In to add your comment

 

print

Printable version  

print

Email to a friend
News Bites
Latest Comments
  • Harking back to the old days
    “Tactical move by CIGNA and looks like they have a lot of bench strength now in sales, underwriting and product / pricing...”
    2 days ago by hitting rock
  • Greens want ACC extended to cover sickness
    “Never happen. The Greens are such an aspirational bunch. Must all the weed. They 'want' all sorts of unlikely things...”
    2 days ago by All hat no cattle
  • Harking back to the old days
    “Really positive news. NZ has been blessed by many successful leaders and it is good that their skills can skill be utilised...”
    2 days ago by Francis L
  • Harking back to the old days
    “I dare say Cigna just got that extra grunt it's been looking for....”
    2 days ago by Matron
  • Greens want ACC extended to cover sickness
    “The Greens have no idea The purpose of the Woodhouse report was to remove the "at fault" component of accidents Sickness...”
    3 days ago by LNF
Subscribe Now

Mortgage Rates Newsletter

Daily Weekly

Previous News
Most Commented On
Mortgage Rates Table

Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 3.19 3.19 3.49
AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 ▼3.39
ANZ Special - ▼2.55 ▼2.69 ▼2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 3.19 3.19 3.49
ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
Bluestone 4.44 4.44 4.44 4.44
BNZ - Classic - 2.65 2.69 2.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.25 3.29 3.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 3.35 3.85 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 4.35 4.45 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.60 2.65 2.80
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 3.99 2.58 2.68 2.79
Kainga Ora 4.43 3.29 3.39 3.85
Kiwibank 3.40 3.40 3.54 4.00
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset - - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.65 2.79 3.25
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.45 3.49 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.69
SBS Bank 4.54 3.29 3.19 3.49
SBS Bank Special - 2.79 2.69 2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 ▼2.69 ▼2.75 ▼2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 ▼3.19 ▼3.25 ▼3.49
TSB Bank 5.34 ▼3.35 3.49 3.79
TSB Special 4.54 ▼2.55 2.69 2.99
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.75 3.99 -
Westpac 4.59 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - ▼2.55 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 3.19 3.22 3.39

Last updated: 10 July 2020 9:02am

About Us  |  Advertise  |  Contact Us  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Feeds  |  Letters  |  Archive  |  Toolbox
 
Site by Web Developer and eyelovedesign.com