According to data collected by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Australia has the 10th largest private rental sector in the 37 nations that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The 2016 Census found that 30.9 per cent of Australians rent, a number that shows a trend of increasing year on year. Furthermore, A new report by the BCEC found that one in four Australian households rent, and it isn’t just those on low incomes. In fact, while 60 per cent of renting households earn under $78,000, 30 per cent are on incomes of more than $100,000.
Considering the large amount of renters in Australia, you would think that most of us would have a good idea of the legal obligations owed to us, and to our landlords, and all the goings-on in between. However, this isn’t the case.
Data collected by Choice has found that most renters are either unaware of their rights or are reluctant to try and enforce their rights due to possible reprisal. Further to that, many renters aren’t entirely aware of their obligations to their landlords, which is where the tenancy blacklist comes in.
What is the tenancy blacklist?
Formally known as tenancy databases, they’re privately owned lists of tenants’ rental histories. It’s a place where landlords can list ‘bad tenants’, and a list that can be accessed by other agents and landlords when you apply for new properties to rent.
These databases are used by agents and landlords to ensure their prospective tenants are reliable and likely to take care of their property.
How can you find out if you’re name is on a tenancy database?
The best way to find out if you have been put on a tenancy database is to contact the main Australian databases, TICA, National Tenancy Database and the TRA, and request they check for information on your name. This will usually cost you a fee.
Alternatively, if a property manager finds your name on a list they should let you know within seven days and give you information on who listed you and why. The agent who listed you must provide you with a copy of your information for free within 14 days of you requesting it.
How to avoid being blacklisted
In all Australian states, except the Northern Territory, there are strict rules about how a tenant can be blacklisted. Generally speaking, you can ONLY be blacklisted on a tenancy database if you are at the end of your lease and you owe rent that exceeds the total amount of your bond, or as the result of a court or tribunal order. However, in Victoria breaching your rental agreement, such as malicious damage to the property, can get you blacklisted, and in Queensland objectionable behaviour and repeated breaches of your lease contract will land your name on a tenancy database.
What to do if you’ve been blacklisted on a tenancy database
Generally speaking you can appeal against a listing, depending on your state, if it’s incorrect, out of date or unjust. You can also raise objections with the landlord, agent or relevant state appeals body.
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