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Privacy Crackdown: What Does It Mean for Landlords?

Privacy Crackdown: What Does It Mean for Landlords? National Propertyscouts


New guidance on privacy for the rental sector has been in the works for the past year and yesterday, the Privacy Commission launched a new compliance monitoring programme. The aim of the programme is to ensure no landlords, managers or agencies are in breach of the Privacy Act. 

So, what does this mean for property owners? The privacy guidelines have been put in place to provide tenants and prospective tenants with confidence in the way their personal information is managed. Property owners, therefore, need to be very careful about what information they seek, use, store and disclose. 

Here is a summary of what you can and can’t ask tenants for.

What information CAN you ask for?

  • Their name

  • Contact information

  • Proof of identity

  • If they are over 18 years old

  • The number of people who will live at the property

  • The occupants of the property

  • Contact details and landlord references

  • Consent for a credit report and criminal record check

  • Pet ownership

  • Plans about smoking

  • Legal ability to be in New Zealand during the tenancy

What information CAN’T you ask for?

Under the new guidelines, if you don’t need the information for lawful purposes connected to finding and managing tenancies, you should never ask for the following information. This includes personal characteristics protected under the Human Rights Act.

  • Relationships and family status

  • Political opinions

  • Religious or ethical beliefs

  • Colour, race, or ethnicity

  • Physical or mental disability/illness

  • Precise age (as noted above, you CAN ask if they are over 18)

  • Employment status (or unemployment status)

  • If they are on the benefit or ACC

  • Sexual orientation or gender identity

  • If tenants have experienced or are suffering family violence

  • Spending habits (you cannot ask for transactional bank statements, employment history, or social media URLs) 

It’s important to note that in the appropriate circumstances there will be scope for further enquiries to be made. However, it is important to ensure you are following the correct procedures, or else you are likely to face consequences. 

To view the full guidelines and resources for both landlords and tenants, click here: https://www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/renting/?fbclid=IwAR0UVRTWasNzoTaeWyPe7U8Rfy3-ePe5DWaDsyJzSwBTK6R9rK1ssnYgy6Y

 

 

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