Whanganui property managers have denounced the practice of demanding bank statements from prospective tenants.

Although they do say some people will willingly hand over their bank statements in the hopes of getting a tenancy.

Auckland-based property manager Rachel Kann told a social services select committee last month that she routinely asked for bank statements.

"They're paying somebody's mortgage and I see a lot of people who are low socio-economic and their bank statements literally will read, 'KFC, McDonalds, the dairy, KFC, McDonalds, court fine', trucks that they buy, goods that they can't afford. You know, I see a lot of mismanagement of money."

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Landlords and property managers around the country have come under heavy scrutiny for the practice of asking to see prospective tenants' bank statements, now being dubbed "the KFC test".

Whanganui resident Anthony Hart said Property Brokers had requested bank statements from him.

"[It was] rather inappropriate, it is not their place to judge our spending habits," Hart said.

"Tenancy agents should be focusing on finding good reliable tenants based around existing references and history."

Lillie Rozon also said she'd been asked by Property Brokers for her bank statements and as a result chose to rent a house through Ray White instead.

A Property Brokers tenancy application form shows applicants can provide bank statements as proof of income. Applicants could also offer a current pay slip or a WINZ statement in place of a bank statement.

The divisional manager of property management at Property Brokers, Robin Congdon, said it wasn't obligatory to provide bank statements.

"It is an option ... we want proof of income on our tenancy application forms and that's really what we're after.

"Current payslip, bank statement or WINZ statement ... and if we were to get a bank statement it would purely be to look at proof of income and that's all that we do."

Congdon said Property Brokers were appalled by the practice of demanding bank statements to assess an applicant's spending.

Landlords Link director Tracey Onishenko said her organisation didn't ask for bank statements.

"No we don't but a lot of people do offer.

"When I heard that I thought well actually it's the people like that come from say Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, they quite often will bring that [bank statements] ... sort of like a CV they bring in.

"They bring in stuff all about them, they bring in pictures of their family, their dog. I kind of say it's a little bit extreme here - you don't need to go that far but it's still quite lovely they've made the effort I guess."

She said it was a step too far and not needed because credit checks were a good sign of an applicant's financial viability.

"I think it's a bit personal to be honest.

"We do credit checks anyway and so if people have had any bad payments it would show up.

"If they want to put what they get as their wages, that's fine. All different people could have all different money and then deal with it differently. It's really just about your credit rating."

The Rent Centre's director, Les Gould, also didn't agree with asking for bank statements.
"No we don't do that. We ask for references and photo ID. Then we can do a credit check on them if we're interested in that.

"It's a little bit of an invasion of privacy. Bank statements don't always tell you anything but if people want to do it then ... and if you want the property you're going to do it aren't you?"