Thursday, October 21, 2010

A new database that allows thousands of real estate agents to see when their tenants apply for other properties has been labelled a ''gross invasion of privacy'' by tenants' advocates.

Virtual Manager is a new service from TICA, the largest tenant database company in Australia. It allows agents to register their tenants' details and receive an email notifying them when the tenant makes an application to move elsewhere.

Chris Martin, a senior policy officer with Tenants NSW, said the program was a break from the traditional service offered by the databases, which are operated by private companies and allow subscribing members to run a check, similar to a credit check, on a prospective tenant.

''It's not the traditional risk management exercise where you're screening a tenant,'' he said of the new service.

''This is all about agents getting tip-offs about what their current tenants are doing.''

Mr Martin said the service could be used by agents to scupper their tenants' new applications, particularly in regional areas with high vacancy rates.

''We believe this service is a gross invasion of people's privacy, and the potential for abuse is high,'' he said...