As a Tenant you have probably heard Tenancy Databases mentioned – possibly at the start of your Tenancy Application process where you were advised that this may form part of the reference checking procedures. These are privately owned database companies used by Agencies and private Landlords to identify if the Tenant/s making an application to rent have a history of not complying with the requirements of a lease. Agencies and Landlords can put Tenants onto a Tenancy database at the end of a Tenancy if:
The Tenancy ends, and the Tenant owes more than the bond money held by the Bond Authority
The Tenant abandons the property with unpaid rent and/or damages
The Tenant does not comply with a direction from the Tribunal
The Tribunal has terminated the Tenancy Agreement on the basis that the Tenant has multiple repeated and unresolved breaches or has behaved in an objectionable manner
The National Tenancy databases work in much the same way as a credit check. You can only be put on the database for a legitimate reason and you can access these databases to find out if you are blacklisted. You also have an opportunity to have yourself removed from the database if the listing was unfounded. Regulations require anyone on a Tenancy Database to be erased after 3 years. You may be able to get off the Database earlier by remedying the breach – e.g. if you owe rent for the period of the Tenancy and this is paid in full, then you may apply to be removed.
Of course, the best way of not getting onto a database is to comply with all of the requirements of your Tenancy Agreement. It is also important to note that only those people listed on the Tenancy Agreement can be named on the database.
The main Tenancy Databases in Australia are:
TICA – You can opt to get a subscription to access your Tenancy files for one year or a once-off report for a smaller fee
NTD (National Tenancy Database) – this site can be accessed at no cost for Tenants to check if they are listed. However, if you need it urgently – there is a small fee.
Trading Reference Australia – they will provide a free copy of your file, but it may take up to 21 working days, or you can opt to have it instantly for a small fee.
If you, like the vast majority of Tenants, do the right thing, these databases are nothing to fear. They are there to protect the rights of Landlords who invest heavily in property and who want to see a return on their investment. Stopping people who do not do pay their rent or who damage their rental property, means more rental accommodation for those people who do the right thing.