• Landlords and property managers criticised for checking bank statements

    Landlords and property managers are being criticised for asking prospective tenants for their bank statements when vetting for new tenancies.

    NZ First MP, Darroch Ball, said the practice is exploitative and risks being used as a mechanism for discrimination.

    “It only serves to prejudice tenants who have very little choice about the demands if they are competing for a home,” Ball said.

    Housing Minster Phil Twyford said that it wasn’t necessary illegal but said it should be.

    “When property managers or landlords request that information they are skating very close to the line of discrimination,” Twyford told media.

    Tenancy.co.nz legal consultant Scotney Williams said there are other ways to get the necessary information from a prospective tenant.

    “Property managers and landlords simply need to know that the tenant has the money and can pay the rent on time,” Williams said.

    “A previous landlord reference, a payslip or bank statement showing your wages going in every week or your rent going out every week is enough in most circumstances.”

    “But a bank statement could be a useful way of showing you’re a suitable applicant if you have no prior history of being a tenant. This could be appropriate for a first-time tenant or someone who is new to the country.”

    Landlords and property managers have other vetting methods they can use including credit checking and background checking.