Five myths about the Privacy Act

  1. The Privacy Act applies to everybody. The Privacy Act doesnt apply to everyone. It may apply to organisations which have a turnover of $3 million or more, so most businesses may not be caught by the Privacy Act. However, there has been discussion about potentially removing this turnover threshold. In any event, consumers nowadays generally expect that their personal information will be handled with the utmost of care, as the Privacy Act requires. Therefore, it may be worthwhile complying with the legislation to not only appease your clients, but also in case this threshold in removed.
  2. Im not allowed to use a person's personal information, such as name and address, unless the person has signed a consent form permitting me to use it. This is not correct. The Privacy Act enables you to collect a clients personal details where they are necessary to provide the service to the client, for example, listing their property for sale. However, when collecting this information from the client, you need to provide them with notice of certain matters we can provide you with an example notice. Once collected, that personal information can then be used to provide that service. For example if you have a listing agreement with a seller and in that agreement, they provided their name and address, you can then use this information to prepare the contract of sale. The reason the client gave you their personal information was for the purpose of selling a property which includes preparing the contract.
  3. The Privacy Act means that I cannot be sent junk mail. This is not correct. People can still send marketing material to your property as long as it is not addressed to you. For example you can send letters addressed to all of the householders in a particular street. Of course people not caught by the Privacy Act may be able to directly market.
  4. If a third party, like RP Data, collected the information then passed it onto me then I am able to use that information for marketing. If you are caught by the Privacy Act (see 1 above) then it doesnt matter where you receive the information from. You are not allowed to use that information for marketing unless the person has consented to you using that information for marketing. However, that consent can be included in marketing communication to the recipient. Contact us for the correct wording, if you wish to do this.
  5. You cannot send information about a tenant to a credit reporting bureaus (for example, VEDA or TICA) without the tenants consent. This is not correct. Most tenancies agreement will have an express provision in them where the tenant agrees that information is to be released to the reporting bureau, for example TICA. Even if there isnt an express provision in the agreement, reporting to TICA or VEDA is part of the ordinary course of the business conducted by property managers. Therefore it would be reasonable for them, to pass on a tenants details, if there is a breach of the tenancy agreement.

For further information please contact Roland Taylor on 0417 605 185 or [email protected]