B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner is taking an interest in nosy landlords.
“My office receives several calls each week from individuals who have been asked by potential landlords for sensitive personal information including medical data, T4 slips, or copies of bank statements,” acting commissioner Drew McArthur said quoted in an August 23 media release.
“Low vacancy rates in Victoria and Vancouver create a significant power imbalance in favour of landlords, so renters are reluctant to assert their privacy rights and jeopardize their housing options,” she continued.
“Landlords, whether renting a basement suite or managing a multi-unit complex, are subject to B.C.’s privacy laws. They may need to verify identity or employment income, but they may only collect what is reasonable. They cannot ask for whatever personal information they want.”
The province’s information and privacy commissioner does not have the power to impose penalties but can make recommendations for how the government should implement reforms.
The release does not include a timeline for the investigation but mentions that the acting commissioner has already requested information from “several” private-sector landlords and rental-management companies for details on what sort of information they require from prospective tenants.
When the investigation is complete, the results will be posted at the information and privacy commissioner’s website at oipc.bc.ca.