Landlords’ bank statement demands need investigating

Darroch Ball, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Social Services

A select committee investigation is needed into the practice of landlords demanding tenants hand over bank statements as part of the vetting process for a property, says Darroch Ball, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Social Services.

“It is clear we have some morally-bereft landlords and property managers unnecessarily sifting through private information,” Mr Ball says. “The vulnerable, poor, young and desperate are being forced into forgoing their privacy in order to have the chance to secure a property.”

Mr Ball says it is apparent this is becoming commonplace behaviour, especially in the major cities where rental markets are tight.

He revealed that during the hearing of submissions at a recent parliamentary select committee, an Auckland-based property manager stated “…I see a lot of people who are low socio-economic and their bank statements literally will read ‘KFC, McDonalds, the dairy, KFC, McDonalds, court fine, trucks that they buy, goods that they can’t afford…”

Proving that you have the ability to pay rent on time can be established by other, less invasive means, such as tax returns, proof of employment, credit checks, references or pay slips.

“This exploitative and invasive measure is clearly being used as a mechanism for discrimination and is totally immoral. It only serves to prejudice tenants who have very little choice about the demands if they are competing for a home.” 

“We need an investigation into how widespread the practice is and how many people are being discriminated against on the basis of the information they provide.”

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