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Home of Your Own

A self help tool for renters affected by family violence

Keeping your rental history clear

Avoiding, or being removed from rental databases, otherwise known as blacklists.

Rental databases, also called ‘blacklists’, are used by real estate agencies to collect information about renters. You can be listed on a database if you leave a property and you owe money for rent or damage (more than your bond) or if you were evicted for certain reasons. A listing expires after three years.

You can only be listed on a database if the rental agreement has ended, and you were named as a renter on the rental agreement.

Some circumstances where you can be listed on a database include:

  • If the property was damaged and the cost of repairs were more than the bond 
  • Rent was not paid (and the rent owed was more than the bond) 
  • You were evicted because you put the safety of others in danager 
  • You were evicted because you caused series damage to the property 
  • You were evicted because of illegal activity at the property  
  • You were evicted because you did not follow an order made by VCAT 
  • You were evicted because the property was assigned or sub-let without permission. 
     

What about if my rental agreement was affected by family violence?
If the rental provider believes there is a reason to list you on a tenancy database, they are not allowed to do so if: 

  • the rental agreement was breached because of family violence 
  • VCAT has made an order terminating or creating a new rental agreement because of family violence 
  • you objected in writing to the database listing because of family violence and gave evidence of the family violence. Evidence can include documents like an intervention order, a police report or a letter from a family violence worker. 

If your rental provider tells you that they are going to list you on a database and it relates to your experience of family violence, you have rights to stop this.

If you have already been listed on a database and the listing relates to family violence, there are also ways to have the listing removed.

How can I stop my rental provider from listing me on a database?  
If your rental provider plans to list you, they must give you a copy of the information listed on the database. If you’re moving out of a property, it’s a good idea to provide the real estate agent a postal address and contact information so that you receive this information. You then have 14 days to dispute the listing. You can do this by writing to your rental provider and explaining why you think the listing is not accurate, complete or clear.

You can also write to your rental provider to object to the listing because the information relates to your experience of family violence. You must also provide evidence, for example:  

  • an intervention order or safety notice 
  • a letter, report, written statement or other document from someone else about your experience of family violence. 

In addition, a rental provider or database company must not list information about you if you breached your rental agreement, but the breach was due to family violence. 

If you applied to VCAT to either end your current rental agreement due to family violence, or to create a new rental agreement with just your name (removing the person using violence from the lease), you can ask VCAT to make an order to stop your rental provider from listing you on a rental database.

You can also apply to VCAT to stop a listing if: 

  • There is no lawful reason for the listing, 
  • The listing is a result of your experience of family violence, or 
  • A listing would be unjust because it would have a disproportionate impact on finding rental properties in the future.

How do I find out if I'm already listed on a database?
If you apply for a rental and your application is rejected, you can make a request in writing to the real estate agency (or rental provider) asking if they checked any databases. You can also ask which databases they checked and if they found any listings about you. The real estate agency or rental provider must tell you if they find a listing about you.

If a residential rental provider checks a tenancy database as part of their usual process, they must tell you about this in writing and give you the contact details of the database.

Can I change or remove a listing?
You can change or remove a listing that is: 

  • inaccurate, incomplete or ambiguous 
  • out-of-date (over 3 years old) 
  • related to your experience of family violence  

If you find out about a listing, write to your rental provider as soon as you can and let them know why it should be changed or removed. If you want to have a listing removed due to family violence, include evidence of the family violence.

From the time the rental provider becomes aware a listing needs to be changed or removed, they have 7 days to give written notice to the database company telling them to change or remove the listing.

The rental provider or database company then has 14 days to change or remove the listing. If the rental provider or database company refuses to amend or remove your listing, then you can apply to VCAT. 

You can apply to VCAT to remove or change an existing listing if: 

  • There is no lawful reason for the listing 
  • You were not given notice of the listing, or the opportunity to object before it was listed 
  • The rental provider became aware that the listing needed to be removed or changed but didn't tell the database company 
  • The listing is a result of family violence 
  • A listing would be unjust because it would have a disproportionate impact on finding future rental properties 
  • The database company was given notice to remove the listing but didn't 
  • The database company listed information that could put your safety at risk 
  • The listing is more than 3 years old 

A support worker from a family violence service or a housing service may be able to support you to object to a database listing or find new housing, they can also write you a letter as evidence to object to a listing.

If you think you might be listed on a database and need more help, there is free legal help available.

See our list of services, for free legal, family violence and housing support. 

This page contains legal information only. View our disclaimer

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