The NSW minister for customer service and digital government, Victor Dominello, has moved to limit the amount of data held by the real estate industry.
Instead of collecting a trove of information about rental applicants, Dominello has asked whether the Rental Bonds online platform could be used to verify individuals.
The growing number of cyber attacks on Australian businesses has put real estate data collection practices under the spotlight.
Dominello recently expressed his concern at the sector’s data collection practices.
“You’re asked to hand over a bundle of ID documents and more in your rental application so agents can validate who you say you are – such as your driver’s licence, passport, medicare details, your work history, bank statements, and even your social media profiles,” he said.
Even a holiday home rental, he said, could involve excessive data collection: “Some agencies ask for a range of identity information – more than necessary. You provide them and repeat year after year for other holidays.”
In addition, many real estate franchises are too small to be subject to the Privacy Act.
Dominello said he has kicked off his proposal with a request to NSW Fair Trading.
“I’ve written to NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann to investigate opportunities with key stakeholders on whether we can use the Rental Bonds online platform – to securely collect and validate information from prospective tenants – in a tell us once approach,” Dominello said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday.
“This could reduce the oversharing of too much information. It could also reduce the burden on agents and landlords to collect and store personal information.”
In the letter to the fair trading commissioner, Dominello wrote: “I ask that the Rental Bond Board investigate opportunities with key stakeholders to use the Rental Bond Online platform as a one-stop shop to securely collect and validate information supplied by prospective tenants.
“This would help protect tenants and reduce the burden on managing agents and landlords to collect and store this personal information.”