Protecting landlord's access to tenant credit checks

Tuesday 23 March 2004

The New Zealand Property Investors Federation says it is vital that landlords are able to do credit checks on potential tenants.

By The Landlord

Currently the Privacy Commissioner is considering a proposal that would stop landlords being able to do credit checks on prospective tenants.

Under the proposed Code for Consultation, Credit Information Privacy Code the commissioner is saying that only credit providers will be able to access information on the creditworthiness of individuals from firms like Baycorp.

New Zealand Property Investors Federation president Craig Paddon says landlords would fall outside of the definition of credit providers.

Mr Paddon says federation members use tenancy agreements which have an appropriate clause regarding access to credit information.

Under this clause prospective tenants consent to allow landlords to check out their credit details. "This proposed code is unjustified when prospective tenants have given their express permission for such checks to be undertaken," Mr Paddon says.

He says this proposal has far reaching effects on the residential property industry. There are more than 320,000 rental properties in New Zealand and more than 250,000 landlords.

"When a landlord signs up a tenant they are entering into a long-term arrangement, but are only being paid in short-term rental amounts. This means that it is important landlords are able to check the financial viability of tenants."

"We have argued that the code needs to make clear that landlords can access credit reporters' databases when properly authorised by prospective tenants."
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