“Morally bereft landlords” can no longer breach tenants’ privacy – Privacy Commissioner rules

The Privacy Commissioner has released guidelines on what landlords and property managers can collect from prospective tenants, essentially barring them to issue the controversial “KFC test” that was raised by a property manager during a select committee hearing last year.

Auckland-based property manager Rachel Kann revealed she routinely asks for bank statements to determine whether tenants could pay rent, saying that “a lot of people who are low socio-economic” spend their money on goods they cannot afford like “KFC, McDonalds, the dairy, court fine”.

The admission led New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball to comment: “It's very clear we have some morally-bereft landlords”.

"The vulnerable, poor, young and desperate are being forced into forgoing their privacy in order to have the chance to secure a property”.

The Commissioner’s new guidelines say landlords can ask tenancy applicants for basic information such as name, contact details, proof of identity, proof of age, length of tenancy expected, reference contact details, and the like. But it prohibits them from asking for nationality, ethnicity, citizenship, physical or mental illness, personal beliefs, and current expenses or for details on rent previously paid.

In short, performing the so-called “KFC test” on tenants’ bank statements will no longer be allowed.



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