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Tenancy database reforms

Jan 2016

Queenslanders are being urged to have their say on proposed changes to tenancy database laws.

The Plumbing and Drainage and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is now before the Utilities, Science and Innovation Committee and the public has until Thursday 28 January to have their say.

The proposed changes are designed to give tenants new protections while maintaining the rights of owners to take reasonable steps to protect their property.

The proposed changes include:

  • limiting the time a listing can be kept on a database to 3 years
  • disclosing information to proposed tenants about databases used by the owner or agent
  • disclosing to the applicant that they are listed on a tenancy database, and to advise a database operator if a listing needs to be amended or removed
  • for the owner/agent or operator to provide the tenant a copy of the listing on request (a reasonable fee may be charged for providing a request).

View the Bill and have your say on the amendment bill.

Tenancy databases

Tenancy databases are run by private companies and hold information on a tenant's rental history.

A tenancy database is a legitimate tool used by owners or their agents to assess the risk of a proposed tenant wishing to rent a home.

However, unfair listings may occur and can unfairly hinder a tenant's chance of securing a rental home.

RTA CEO Darren Barlow said the proposed changes will build on existing state laws that regulate the way database information is managed.

"They will improve the quality of information kept on the databases while protecting the rights of owners to take reasonable steps to protect their property," he said.

Legislation to introduce the uniform law is already in place in most Australian jurisdictions.

Once all States and Territories have adopted the uniform law there will be a consistent legislative framework across the country for governing listings on tenancy databases.

This will help reduce the difficulties tenants’ face with securing affordable rental accommodation if they are unfairly listed anywhere in Australia.