Privacy breach?

Question from stan updated on 2nd July 2013:

I want to rent a property and the property management company insisted I fill out an application form before dealing with me. The form stated that I agreed that all the information could be shared with other landlords and also it was a requirement to give them my income details. Is this not a breach of my privacy on both counts?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

Where a landlord requests information as part of their pre-tenancy checks, prospective tenants should consider whether they are happy disclosing the information requested, and should ensure that they are fully aware of what they are agreeing to (including any disclosure clauses). Prospective tenants in this situation may also wish to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor or their local community law centre prior to signing any document where they have concerns. If a party believes that the requirement of specific information or the release of specific information may breach the Privacy Act 1993, they may wish to contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner at 0800 803 909, or visit their website (http://privacy.org.nz/). To discuss your situation further, or for more information regarding a prospective tenancy, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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