Use of Tenancy Databases in NT


This training brochure applies to organisations that search for or list information on tenancy databases.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 No.11 (NT)

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 No.11 (NT) (the Amending Act) commenced on 1 July 2018 and has amended the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 (NT) (the Act).

Notification of use of tenancy databases

The Amending Act has inserted Part 14 into the Act, which comprises a set of obligations on landlords who search for or list personal information on tenancy databases.

Section 126 requires a landlord to give notice to potential tenants of any tenancy databases that it regularly uses to search for personal information about persons in order to determine whether to offer them the opportunity to enter into a residential tenancy agreement.

Further to this, section 127 stipulates that landlords must give a potential tenant written notice (containing the particulars set out in that section) if they search a tenancy database and find personal information of the person listed on the database.

Listing personal information on tenancy databases

The Amending Act has also restricted the circumstances in which a landlord can list personal information on a tenancy database. The personal information must relate to the person’s breach of a tenancy agreement where the person owes the landlord an amount greater than the security deposit and the personal information listed relates only to the breach, etc. The circumstances in which personal information can be listed are particularised in full under section 128 of the Act.

In addition, under section 129 the landlord is obliged to give a copy of the personal information it proposes to list in the database to the person and must allow the person an opportunity to object to the contents of the listing before the entry is made.

Ongoing responsibility to ensure quality of listing

Finally, landlords now have ongoing responsibilities in relation to the maintenance of the quality of personal information listed on tenancy databases. In accordance with this, a landlord must give a database operator notice within 7 days of becoming aware of a listing that is inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out-of-date under section 130 of the Act. The notice must instruct the database operator as to how the listing can be corrected.

If a landlord receives a written request from a person for a copy of personal information that the landlord lists about the person, the landlord must provide such a copy to the person within 14 days of the later of the request or payment of any fee that is charged. Fees (which must not be excessive) can be charged for the provision of personal information, but not for the lodging of a request (see section 132).

Conclusion

As a result of the insertion of Part 14 into the Act, organisations subject to its operation as landlords now have responsibilities in relation to the use of tenancy databases, whether searching for personal information about potential tenants or listing personal information about persons.

Organisations should ensure that they have systems in place to ensure that written notice is given under the Act where required and controls are put in place to ensure that personal information is not listed on a tenancy database other than in accordance with the Act as outlined in the NT- Residential Tenancies module.

Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au