Ask Susan: Looking for a house

By Susan Edmunds

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Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

We are looking for a house to rent and found one we liked online, with a company called Urban Realty. I called the agent and was told it was available but I needed to fill in a form and do a credit check that cost $15 before viewing. We waited to hear when we could view the property but then a few days later they told me it had been let to someone else. It's not the $15 I'm upset about, it just seems unfair.

Loraine, Auckland

A: This is unusual - usually landlords pay for a credit check once they decide who they would like as a tenant. Whether it's legal depends on the circumstances under which you paid the $15. The property manager is required under the Fair Trading Act to not mislead or deceive so they needed to be upfront about whether a satisfactory credit check would guarantee the viewing or was simply necessary for using their services. You can seek free legal advice from MBIE's Community Law Centre, through the Citizens Advice Bureau, to see if you can get your $15 back. Urban Realty says it's their policy to get credit checks before people see a property to ensure the right tenants are found.

- Herald on Sunday

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