As reported in The Hamilton Spectator as well as this blog, Landlord Credit Bureau had set up a secret field in their tenancy records that only other landlords can see, posing some obvious questions about how tenants can even dispute reports they aren’t able to see.
Originally, the tenant record contained a field that looked like this:
In response to the Hamilton Spectator piece, Zac Killam took to Outline.com, using the annotation feature to defend himself and his business.
In those annotations, Zac Killam addresses the question of the secret field, something he didn’t do when given the opportunity by the Spectator.
In it he defends the practice, comparing it to a landlord phoning references. This comment was made on March 25 2021.
By March 30th however, the language on the tenancy record changed:
Suddenly, the information IS shared with the tenants. Funny there’s no announcement of this big change.
Now by April 7th things have changed again and we have not one but two variant tenancy records with very different language. The first reads as follows:
Now it’s kind of difficult to tell if this field is shared between all parties or not. The language is very unclear and seems to leave things up to the landlord to ask the tenant about things reported in this field to “verify” them. Which really sounds like what LCB should be doing in the first place – sharing this field with tenants so they can see it and dispute it. Putting the onus on the landlord allows them to keep collecting and hiding this data.
Confusing the matter further is the existence of another sample tenancy record with much different language once again:
This version tells us that by May 3rd 2021 the field once shown only to other landlords will be visible to tenants as well. Is there a reason to delay this until May 3rd? Difficult to say without knowing more but presumably it’s to give landlords some time to verify their records and ensure what they are reporting is accurate so when tenants finally see the field there should be no disputes.
It’s interesting to note the part about tenants providing consent for future landlords to pull their record. The current mechanism for ensuring a tenant has given consent to have their record pulled constitutes a checkbox where the landlord affirms they have consent. No uploading a signed consent form, just a checkbox. Scouts honour.
It should be deeply concerning that a company which is supposed to be trusted with extremely sensitive personal data that can have a huge impact on our daily lives can’t seem to settle on a major piece of corporate policy like this. It’s almost as if they’re just making it up as they go along.