QLD Is the real estate agency invading my privacy asking about personal transactions on my bank statement?

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Anna1226

Member
22 February 2021
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Hi, my real estate agency has asked for bank statements to confirm my income which I’ve happily provided but now they are questioning individual personal transactions I have made that is not income or large expenses. Surely this is a privacy invasion. What laws protect me from being asked these invasive questions? I need to know my rights. Thank you, if you can help.
 

Docupedia

Well-Known Member
7 October 2020
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Real estate agents can ask pretty much anything they want. There's no obligation on you to answer.

Ask them why they need to know. If they give a fair explanation actually concerning information they reasonably ought to know - then you may consider giving it. Outside of basically being able to demonstrate you have sufficient financial means to afford the rent then it shouldn't be any of their business - unless it, for example, contradicts other information you've disclosed or indicates something that could directly affect the house.
 

Docupedia

Well-Known Member
7 October 2020
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414
The simple answer is: None - unless your real estate agent is bound by the Privacy Act (because (a) they have an annual revenue of more than $3 million or (b) they've opted in to it). If they are bound by it, they can ask for what they reasonably require.

Read here: Tenant blacklists, tenant screening and your rental rights | CHOICE

Look under 'What information can an agent collect?'
 

Anna1226

Member
22 February 2021
3
0
1
Thanks so much for your replies. I just checked and it says this on my real estate agents website:
We take the privacy of individuals seriously and are committed to complying with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Act).
So what protections does this now provide me within regards to my original question?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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None.
 

Docupedia

Well-Known Member
7 October 2020
139
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If they’re opting in to the Privacy Act, ask them for a copy of their privacy policy. It should set out what information they will ask for in order to do their job. See this page: Collection of personal information

The thing that may cause you problems is that the Privacy Act is only generally concerned about things like personal and sensitive information. Details of your expenditure is likely not covered, and therefore not governed by the Act.
 

Scruff

Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
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NSW
A good real estate agent won't look at a bank statement for the sole purpose of determining if you can afford the rent.

They will look at all income sources, spending habits and will look for patterns relating to both. The reason for that, is that they want to make sure that you are not involved in anything illegal such as drug dealing. If they don't do this and you are involved in something naughty, then it causes headaches for the agent down the track.

A good agent will question anything they think is suspicious, so this isn't about them wanting to invade your privacy, it's simply the agent doing their job.