Landlord criticised potential tenant for pole dancing classes

A prospective tenant was allegedly judged by a landlord for taking pole dancing classes, which he noticed when he viewed her bank statements.

The woman's friend, Chris, who was present at a meeting with her and the landlord, told NZME the landlord said: "I don't know if we want that sort of character."

Chris told NZME at another meeting the woman was told she could afford to pay higher rent when another prospective landlord was looking at her bank statements.

There have been calls for regulation of property managers after one admitted at a select committee that she demands to see prospective tenants' bank statements.

Auckland-based property manager Rachel Kann told a Social Services Select Committee she routinely asks for bank statements, and uses that information to decide whether to let a property.

"I don't just want to put a tenant into a property and no sooner have they been put in they can't afford the rent," Ms Kann told the select committee.

"They're paying somebody's mortgage and 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. You know, I see a lot of mismanagement of money."

Lobby group Renters United told The AM Show on Wednesday the practice is discriminatory and more regulation is needed in the industry.

"It is an invasion of tenants' privacy under the Residential Tenancies Act discrimination is prohibited," spokesperson Kate Day said.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson told RadioLIVE's Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury there are plenty ways to check the character of a prospective tenant, without asking for bank statements.

She said landlords can request a reference check or ask for proof of employment and are protected by the bond paid when the tenant moves in.

Conversely there is no requirement for a property manager to pass any kind of good character test.

"We've been getting more complaints about this type of information being requested, really quite personal information," she said.

"Property managers who don't face any sort of regulation themselves, so really they're not subject to any good character test."


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