Conducing Tenant Checks in Australia

Discover why tenant checkare so important and how they can be done using the National Tenancy Database (NTD).

Tenancy checks are an essential part of the rental process for landlords and property owners. They help you assess if a prospective tenant is reliable and capable of meeting their obligations under a lease agreement. 

Tenancy checks are a way of checking the background of your tenant and should always include a rental history check to ensure that they are not on the tenant blacklist as well as an identity check to verify they are who they say they are. Part of the tenant check process means that you will also verify their income, employment and check references from former landlords or employers.  

Tenancy checks using the National Tenancy Database (NTD) include: 

  • A financial check which looks at histories such as late payments, defaults and bankruptcy. This will help you understand how reliable the tenant might be when paying rent on time.
  • An identity check verifies that the applicant is who they say they are by looking at government documents such as driver's licences or passports. This helps to rule out fraudulent applications. 
  • A database search provides an overview of where the prospective tenant has lived before and whether there was any problem with unpaid rent or damage to the property. 
  • Employment and income verification – this helps landlords understand if the applicant can afford the rental payments over their stay on the property 

Extra checks should be completed in the form of reference checks from former landlords or employers – these are important because they provide first-hand accounts of how tenants have behaved in past renting arrangements. 

Also read: How to Choose the Right Tenant | RentBetter

What is the National Tenancy Database?

The National Tenancy Database (NTD) is an online system that collects and stores tenant rental history data from the residential rental market across the country. The NTD helps property owners, real estate agents, property managers and tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement. 

The NTD was established in 2008 as part of the Residential Tenancies Act to provide a comprehensive nationwide overview of tenant rental histories.

The database compiles information on past and current tenancies, including any late payments or breaches of the agreement, which can be accessed by potential landlords or agents when making decisions about future tenants.

To access the information stored in the NTD, agencies must pass standard security checks as well as pay a fee for each search. Records can also be updated with new tenancy agreements via an online portal, ensuring that all data remains up-to-date. 

By providing landlords with detailed insights into potential tenants’ past behaviour, the NTD helps promote responsible management of rental properties across Australia.

Why should use use the NTD to conduct a tenant check?

Conducing tenant checks using the NTD should be an essential step for any landlord or property manager. It is a great way to protect you from encountering issues further down the line. 

The NTD allows for a complete background check on potential tenants, which quickly and efficiently establishes their rental history. This includes any previous evictions or non-payment of rent and providing insight into any convictions or police reports. All of this information gives landlords an idea of the individual's commitment to renting, making it easier to determine if they are suitable for tenancy. 

In addition to this, you can use the NTD to gain access to current contact details for a prospective tenant as well as their current address and employer. This can help verify that applicants are who they say they are, ensuring accuracy in applications and increasing security within rental properties. 

The NTD is an invaluable tool for ensuring rental properties remain safe and secure environments for both tenants and landlords alike. By using this comprehensive database, you can rest assured that they have taken all necessary steps when it comes to protecting their investments and making sure tenants meet their expectations.

Who can be listed in the database?

Tenants may be listed in on NTD if they have breached their tenancy agreement or caused significant damage to the property they have been renting. Failure to pay rent on time can also be grounds for listing in the database. 

Notifications of proposed listings are sent to tenants before they are added, giving them 14 days to respond or object to the listing. It is important to note that tenants who are not named on the tenancy agreement cannot be listed in the NTD; this includes other occupants, visitors or children. 

When a tenant is listed in the NTD, their details such as name, date of birth and address are included. The database also contains information related to any previous tenancies including rental arrears, damage caused during the term of the tenancy and any other breaches of tenancy agreements listed against them by their landlord or agent. 

Also read: Selecting the Right Tenants - 2 Key Points to Keep in Mind | RentBetter

Tenancy checks in different states and territories

Make sure you're up to date on your state or territory's tenancy check laws! Here's what you need to know about tenancy checks:

Australian Capital Territory

Tenancy databases, such as the 'blacklist', are used by rental providers to screen potential tenants in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the Privacy Act 1988 regulate the use of such databases.

Learn more about tenancy checks in the ACT.

New South Wales

When conducting tenant checks in New South Wales it is important to remember that the NSW Government has specific rules related to renting and tenancy agreements. 

Learn more about tenancy checks in NSW.

The Northern Territory

Under the Northern Territory’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), landlords are required to undertake tenant checks before entering into a tenancy agreement with a potential tenant.

This means that landlords must conduct a search of an approved database to check the identity and creditworthiness of their potential tenants prior to entering into the tenancy agreement.

Learn more about tenancy checks in the NT.


In Queensland, a tenancy check involves a search of the NTD. This database contains information on tenants whose previous lessors or agents have listed due to problems with their previous tenancies. 

Learn more about tenancy checks in QLD.

South Australia

In South Australia, tenant checks are regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA), which sets out obligations for residential tenancy database holders and users.

Learn more about tenancy checks in SA.


In Tasmania, this is generally done by landlords or real estate agents accessing tenancy databases to check a person’s rental history.

These databases contain information such as whether the tenant has been evicted from a property before, if they have had any issues paying rent on time or if they have caused any damage to a previous residence.

Learn more about tenancy checks in TAS.

Western Australia

In Western Australia, a tenancy check is a process used by real estate agents and landlords to screen potential tenants.

The state has implemented a tenancy database, commonly referred to as “blacklists” or “bad tenant databases”, to help with the check. 

Learn more about tenancy checks in WA.


Before engaging in tenancy checks, it’s important to understand the relevant legislation and how it affects the tenancy screening process in Victoria.

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic), landlords and agents must obtain consent from a prospective tenant before performing a tenancy check.

Learn more about tenancy checks in VIC.

How can I run a Tenant Check using the NTD?

RentBetter provides you with a reliable way to conduct tenant checks so you can find out more information about prospective tenants.

Using RentBetter to gain access to the NTD, the market-leading solution by Equifax, you'll be provided with detailed information on a tenant's past rental history and behaviour. This information can help you make informed decisions and ensure you get the right tenant into your property.

The tenant check searches through hundreds of sources to identify any potential risks related to the individual being screened. This includes checking for any past evictions, late payments, missed rental payments, or other relevant data points.

The information gathered is used to help you make an informed decision before you approve a tenant and sign a lease agreement.