In May 2005, the Tenants Union of Victoria approached the Commission to discuss the operation of residential tenancy databases in Victoria. Residential tenancy databases provide information to landlords about the rental histories of prospective tenants so that landlords can assess their suitability. Residential tenancy databases are operated by private companies.
The Commission’s Residential Tenancy Databases: Report was released in April 2006. The report examines the way residential tenancy databases function and makes general recommendations for their regulation.
At the time the Commission was conducting its review, a national review of residential tenancy databases was being conducted by a joint working group of the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs and the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. The national review released its report in October 2006. Many of the recommendations in the national review were influenced by the Commission’s report.
The first recommendation of the Commission’s report was that the regulation of residential databases should be consistent across Australia. This was also a key recommendation from the national review. In 2010 national model legislation was adopted by the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs. In August 2010, the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act was amended to incorporate the national model legislation on residential tenancy databases.