Call for landlord blacklist to warn would-be tenants


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Bad landlords could soon find themselves on a “blacklist” if tenant Rachel Black has her way.

Rachel, also a landlord herself, has launched a petition to the NSW Parliament, supported by Greens MP Jenny Leong, that calls for a list of landlords who’ve had findings against them at NCAT.

As explained in this story in Domain, this would mirror not only the tenants’ blacklist which names poorly behaved renters, but other Fair Trading registers of bad commercial operators.

“I had a shocking experience with a landlord last year,” Rachel told Flat Chat. “Although I managed to get two orders against them at NCAT, there is still no way a tenant can look them up to see if they are dodgy. Yet there is a tenants blacklist. I want to change that. 

“I want dodgy landlords to think twice before trying to do over a tenant because they will be named and shamed,” she continued.

“I want landlords to stop falsely claiming bond money.  Right now they know there are no repercussions if they get caught falsely claiming,.

“I also want people to stop people assuming all landlords are dodgy because of the handful that give us all a bad reputation.”

Victoria is introducing a “rental provider” blacklist, already legislated, next month. Rachel feels that is it’s good enough for Victorians, it’s long overdue here.

The petition

This is the text of her petition for which she will need 20,000 online signatures by the end of this month.

In NSW, a tenant enters a lease with no indication of what the landlord has been like in the past. Tenants don’t have access to maintenance records, ex-tenant references or any tribunal dealings the landlord has been involved in.

By the time a tenant finds out there are maintenance or landlord issues, they have already spent the time and money moving in.

If tenants breach their contract, they may be put onto a privately-run tenancy database (the ‘tenant’s blacklist’). Landlords can gain access to this, and often remind tenants that if they breach their contract they will be put on the list.

If there is a tenancy database, it is only fair that there is an equivalent for landlords.

The Victorian government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 includes provisions for a ‘Rental non-compliance register’ that will list a rental providers name, the rental property address and the offence, compensation and/or compliance order.

We ask the Legislative Assembly to:

1.    Create a Register of NCAT rulings against landlords. The government already has a ‘name and shame’ site for food safety penalty notices. If a landlord gets an NCAT ruling against them, they should be listed on a similar government site which is accessible to potential tenants.

2.    Review the Tribunal’s power to impose and monitor orders on landlords. The tribunals need to start taking landlord breaches and fraud seriously and penalise them accordingly by giving orders.

You can sign Rachel’s petition HERE.

Victoria blacklist

The new laws coming in to Victoria mean rental providers (landlords) and their agents will be listed on an online register if VCAT finds they have failed to meet certain obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, or they are convicted of an offence under the RTA.

The register will be a publicly available record managed by Consumer Affairs Victoria and will be available on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website from 29 March 2021.

Prospective renters will be able to find out more about their rental provider or agent, by searching for search the rental provider’s name, the business name and address of their agent (if they have one), or the address of the rented premises. The listing will be removed after three years.

Rental providers or agents will be able to prevent being listed,  or have their listing removed or changed under special circumstances, including that:

  • Consumer Affairs Victoria did not notify them before making the listing
  • the listing has been on the register for more than three years, or
  • the information in the listing is incorrect.

Rooming house operators, caravan park owners, caravan owners and site owners (and their agents) may also be listed on the register.

You can hear JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the petition on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast.

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