Privacy Commissioner withdraws guide to what landlords can ask

Last month, the office of the Privacy Commissioner produced a new set of guidelines which would make the task of screening the suitability of tenants that much harder for landlords and property managers.

[…] Its guidelines grouped requests for information from landlords determining tenant suitability into three categories: “always justified”, “sometimes justified” and “almost never justified”.

We were not at all impressed with the guidelines and pointed out that while a credit check might very well be a breach of privacy it was one that banks and other institutions breached every day of the week. Our guest writer in fact went as far as to say that the guidelines would get rid of more mum-and-dad landlords and would make the current rental shortage even worse.

Perhaps someone in the ivory tower of the Privacy Commission reads New Zealand’s most popular blog, as a spokesperson for the Commissioner has now announced that the guidance list is “being reviewed”.

“We acknowledge that there are points which can be made clearer and more precise. It won’t involve wholesale changes, just some refinements so there’s no scope for confusion. We hope to be able to reissue the guidance in the next few weeks.”

[…] “When the new guidelines were announced a few weeks ago a number of industry bodies, including Reinz, raised concerns around a lack of consultation and some of the discrepancies between the advice issued by the OPC and other Government departments.

“Therefore, we welcome the announcement that the guidelines will be revised and reworked in consultation with the industry.


Here’s hoping that the new version is a lot more practical and makes a lot more sense. Landlords have been hit enough by this current government and these poorly thought our guidelines were very much the icing on an already pretty unpalatable cake.