Tenancy database changes: your rights

Summer 2016

The Queensland Government has adopted changes to tenancy database laws to give greater protections for tenants while maintaining a property owner’s right to protect their investment.

Tenancy databases are operated by private companies and hold information on tenants’ rental histories. They are used by property managers and owners to assess the risk of prospective tenants wanting to rent properties.

Queensland’s amended tenancy database laws which came into force on 1 July 2016 strengthen existing protections and bring the state into line with national uniform laws.

The laws impose stronger obligations on property managers and owners who use databases to list information about tenants.

It has been a requirement in Queensland since 2003 that tenants cannot be listed on a database until after the tenancy has ended.

Additional tenancy database laws specify that:

  • Listings can only be kept on a database for 3 years (database companies have until 1 January 2017 to remove old listings)
  • Property managers/owners must inform tenants within 7 days that they have been listed on a database, how they can obtain a copy of the listing, and how they can contest or remove a listing if they disagree.
  • On request by the tenant, the property manager/owner who made the listing is to provide a copy of the listing (a reasonable fee may be charged for providing a request).
  • Victims of domestic violence have greater protection through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) which can order that the personal information of victims not be listed on tenancy databases where the breach of the tenancy agreement is as a result of domestic violence. However the perpetrator of violence can be listed (as long as they are a co-tenant).
  • In cases where no bond has been taken, there are new safeguards to protect against listing tenants on databases for owing relatively small amounts. Tenants can only be listed if they owe the equivalent of one week’s rent or more.

The RTA will prosecute breaches of the new laws. Individuals found guilty could face fines of more than $2000 while corporations could face fines five times that amount.

For more information or to report a possible breach of tenancy database laws, contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.