This week’s question comes from Thomas (paraphrased):
You will recall that over the course of the last few months, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner published, took back and republished its Guidance for landlords and tenants.
The latest version (with the NZPIF’s input) is available both as a short-form guidance information fact sheet and full guidance document outlining the framework principles landlords are advised to operate within.
As to its legal effects, there are none. The guidelines are just that, guidelines. In general, the OPC does not have any enforcement powers
against landlords. It does, however, have the power to investigate pursuant to a tenant’s complaint that the landlord has breached his/her privacy.
If your tenant is to make such a complaint and the nature of the complaint passes the OPC’s threshold for investigation, it will notify you the details
and request a response. In most cases, a settlement will be reached between the parties that typically involves an apology. If the tenant considers
the harm from the breach of privacy so serious as to warrant compensation, he/she may seek to penalise the landlord accordingly.
For more privacy information, refer to the resources on the OPC website.