18 April 2022

Missing Out on Rentals? How to Check Your Tenancy History

Danielle Redford

With rental properties in such high demand across the country, having a perfect tenancy history is important. You may have spent months looking for a new home, filled in application form after application form and have the bond money sitting aside, but securing a new home may not be as easy as it once was.

When you submit your application form, agents will go through the applications picking out their top five or ten applicants. Before presenting your application to the landlord, they will go through your references, check your employment, check your capacity to pay and check one of the tenancy databases for any records against you.

If you aren’t being approved for a property, you could be listed on a database like TICA, hindering your ability to get a new home.

What is a Tenancy Database?

Most people will have heard of a tenancy database, but these are lists containing rental history for people who may have violated a previous lease. If you’ve ever left a property with unpaid rent more than the bond or damaged property beyond the cost of the bond, there’s a good chance you’ve been listed on a tenancy database.

There are a few databases across the country, and most real estate agents will use at least one of them to check your references.

What are Tenancy Databases Used For?

Much like checking your references at your last rental property or with your employer, a tenancy database provides another layer of protection for the landlord when choosing respectful and reliable tenants. If you have breached your tenancy contract in the past, you may have found your way onto a database.

The tenancy database is just one additional way to check out what type of tenant you may be.

What are Tenants Blacklisted For?

It is important to note that in all states, except the Northern Territory, legislation prevents agents or landlords listing you on a tenancy database with no good reason to do so. Legislation varies from state to state; however, in most cases, you can only be blacklisted at the end of your lease once you have moved out.

The most common reason for a database listing is behind in rent to the point your bond doesn’t cover the outstanding amount. The other reason for being listed is if a court or tribunal states that you must be listed on the database. This would only come about if you have been taken to the tribunal or the course over outstanding damage and costs.

Not paying rent isn’t recommended. Many tenancy advocacy services across the country recommend that you continue paying your rent even if you have an issue with your landlord or agent. This means that you are upholding your end of the deal. While paying late by one or two days generally won’t see you listed, if you are consistently late, you may be listed by a great deal of time.

If you vacated a property and had more rent outstanding than your bond covered, it’s best to assume you are listed.

When it comes to property damage, as a tenant, you aren’t responsible for fair wear and tear to the property, as long as you are using it for what it was intended for - a place to live. You can, however, be held responsible for other damage such as broken windows, holes in walls and ripped carpet.

It is always best to not assume that your bond will cover outstanding amounts for rent or damage. Before vacating, check with your agent if you have any rent outstanding, and make sure you are there for the final inspection. This gives you a chance to clean up any areas you may have missed.

Are You About to be Listed?

Before you can be listed on a tenancy database, it is a requirement that your agent or landlord contacts you in writing or takes reasonable steps to advise you. You then have enough time to appeal the decision if you so wish.

There are a few ways to not be listed on a tenancy database.

The first is to pay any outstanding amounts to the agent or landlord. You have three months to pay, and your name will be removed from the database. If you think you will fall behind on your rent for reasons such as losing your job or having financial difficulties, get in touch with your agent straight away. Most agents are quite reasonable if they know what they are dealing with.

If you feel that your listing on the tenancy database is unfair and you have been unable to negotiate with your agent or landlord, you can go to the relevant tribunal to have your case heard.

Finding Out if You Are Listed

Wondering if you are on a tenancy blacklist? You can go to the three main sites for tenancy databases - TICA, National Tenancy Database and TRA - and pay the fee to check if your name is listed.

If, however, you are applying for properties and the property manager finds you on a database, they should let you know within seven days that you are listed and the agency that listed you and why. You can then go to the agent who listed you and ask for proof of their reasoning, which they must provide to you within 14 days.

How Long Will I Be on the Database and How to Be Removed?

There are a couple of ways to remove your name from the tenancy databases. The first is to write to the person who listed you and request removal. If there is an outstanding amount, you should either organise to pay it or take it to the tenancy tribunal if you don’t agree.

If you have paid any outstanding funds, you should have your name removed within three months. If it takes longer to pay back your debt, your name will stay on the database, but it will reflect that the outstanding amounts are paid. Finally, your name will be automatically removed three years after being listed.

Being listed on a tenancy database can hinder your ability to find a new rental. If you aren’t getting approved for rental properties, do a database search or contact your old agent to see if you have been listed.

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