What Landlords Can & Can't Ask Tenants | Privacy Update



Whether a landlord owns one, or many rental properties, the Privacy Act is fundamental to how you rent and manage your property.


Over the past nine months the Privacy Commissioner has been looking at privacy in the rental sector to protect the rights and privacy of renters by providing guidance to landlords.


Only ask for what you need is the core theme of the advice. When collecting information, the Privacy Commissioner recommends putting each question to the test "do you need the information for a lawful purpose connected to finding tenants and managing tenancies?".


What You Can Ask....


When Arranging Property Viewings

At this point landlords just need basic information to help follow up with people in regards to the viewing, so only only the prospective tenant's name and contact information should be asked for, according to the Privacy Commissioner.


Following the viewing, landlords can then provide the renter the option to complete a full application form.


When Providing Tenancy Application Forms

  • Name, contact information and proof of identity

  • Whether the applicant is aged 18 years or older

  • Number of people who would live at the property

  • Names of occupants who will not be on the tenancy agreement, such as flatmates or dependents), but not other personal details about non-tenants

  • Contact details for landlord and non-landlord references

  • Consent to contact referees (you can contact referees at this stage)

  • Consent for a credit report and criminal record check (to be obtained only if you are in negotiation with a tenant about an offer of tenancy)

  • Pet ownership (if there are restrictions on the pets allowed at the property)

  • Whether any occupants are smokers (if there are restrictions on smoking at the property)

  • Whether the tenant has a legal right to remain in New Zealand for the duration of a tenancy (only if the tenancy is for a fixed term)

When Checking Shortlist of Preferred Applicants

  • Any additional information needed to carry out credit or criminal record checks (e.g. date of birth or copies of ID documents)

  • Evidence of ability to pay rent – in addition to a credit report, you can ask for one other form of evidence (e.g. pay slip, letter from employer or Work and Income, evidence of rental payments in previous tenancy). Landlords can’t ask for evidence of tenants’ spending habits, such as detailed bank statements.

When Preparing a Tenancy Agreement

  • Vehicle information (if necessary to provide for parking on the property)

  • Address for service (where you can send correspondence to the tenant)

  • Contact details for someone the landlord can contact in an emergency

  • Work and Income client number, if rent is being paid using an accommodation supplement and you can show that the client number is necessary for managing the tenancy


Are you looking at re-letting your property soon? Get in touch today for a complimentary rental appraisal. We provide a detailed report based on your property's features, market trends, rent data and our extensive market knowledge, helping you achieve the best returns.


Locally owned and managed for 30+ years, we take care of investments, offering peace of mind and a personal service to investors and tenants alike. Taking on all aspects of the landlord’s role, we guide our clients with professional, tailored advice using our extensive experience and insight in the rental market that can only be built over time.


Chat to our team today to learn about our casual letting service and property management services.


Quinovic Johnsonville | Wellington

Call Jordan Atkinson - 027 297 0873


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Call Helen Vance - 027 487 8103


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