What is a Tenancy Database?
Tenancy databases hold the rental information of tenants, and are also known as “blacklists”. Registration to a database often costs money, either a one-off fee or as an ongoing membership.
There are a number of tenancy databases that operate over Australia, the most common being TICA, the National Tenancy Database and Trading Reference Australia (TRA). Tenancy databases are privately run, rather than government-operated, although the Residential Tenancies Act of 2010 outlines who, when and for what reasons a person can be listed.
Who can be listed?
Only those that are listed as a tenant on the lease can be listed on a tenancy database. Visitors, occupants that aren’t mentioned on the lease and children can’t be listed. You can only be listed after the lease is finished.
Why can you be listed?
There are two reasons behind why a tenant can be listed. You can be listed for either or both of the following reasons:
- You have vacated the property whilst owing more than the rental bond, either due to arrears, or damage
- The tribunal has made an order terminating the lease agreement due to an infringement upon the lease agreement made by you
If you are listed on a tenancy database, informations and reasons associated with the listing will be outlined in a complete and unambiguous way. For example, ‘“eviction order given on ground of rent arrears and negligent damage to the property, the tenant owes $2500 in rent and repairs above the bond value”.
How do I know if you’ve been listed
Landlords or agents that intend on listing you on a tenancy database must inform you in writing. They must give you 14 days’ notice before listing, as an opportunity for you to object to the listing. If you believe the listing is incorrect or unjust, you can apply to the tribunal and explain your case.
Applying for a rental property
In the case that you apply for a tenancy and the landlord or agent discovers you’ve been listed on a tenancy database, they must let you know in writing. They should inform you of who has listed you and how to access that information, although they aren’t required to explain the reasoning behind your listing.
You are entitled to a copy of the database listing information from the person who listed you, free of charge, or direct from the database operator, although the operator may charge for sharing this information (note: the fee can’t be excessive).
Removing a tenancy database listing
A listing can be removed if it is:
- Out of date;
- Incorrect; or
A listing on the database may be for a maximum of three years, before the listing is then considered “out-of-date” and is to be removed.
Incorrect or unjust listings may be brought up with your agent or landlord, who then have 7 days (14 if they need to notify the database operator) to correct the listing.
If you can’t resolve the listing with the agent or landlord, the matter can be resolved at the tribunal.
Depending on the outcome of the tribunal, the tribunal can order for information in the database to be wholly or partly removed, changed, or not listed at all if was a proposed listing that had not yet come into effect.
Contact the Tenancy Database provider to request removal if you are listed.