GDPR confusion and misinformation

by Readers Question

11:26 AM, 23rd April 2018
About 2 years ago

GDPR confusion and misinformation

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GDPR confusion and misinformation

I am told that ALL organisations, including private landlords (and their contractors), will have to be GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018. I have attending training on this and I’m getting contradictory advice from different GDPR professionals. About 4 weeks ago I was told that there is no need to register with the ICO, as everyone has to comply with GDPR so no need to register to do so, then earlier this week I was at an RLA event and was told that it would be necessary for everyone to register with the ICO, so these two GDPR speakers basically contradicted each other! The ICO website itself says that most data controllers (yes, that includes landlords) will need to register, unless they fall into an exemption (examples are on the ICO website).

At the RLA event earlier this week, I was told that we would need to provide all our tenants (and other people we hold data about) with a Privacy Notice. The RLA have one of these on their website that landlords can download, they said it is 30 pages long. I mentioned that there are probably a couple of hundred organisations that hold a persons data, so does that mean we can expect to receive 200 x 30 page documents arriving in the post in the next few weeks, and she said that most would be sent by email. I asked, what if the person does not have an email address, and she said then I could post them a hard copy, (so if you have any tenants who do not have an email address, they may be getting 6000 pages in the post very soon!!! (200 x 30 page documents). I asked if we could simply have the Privacy Notice on our website, and she was unsure whether this would be acceptable for not. She said that she only takes tenants if they have an email address, but clearly she deals with more affluent or well educated tenants, whereas I deal mainly with vulnerable tenants who very often don’t have an email address (or may not be computer literate, may have mental health issues, or learning difficulties, etc).

I asked if GDPR applies to all government, and local government departments, and she said yes, it applies to all companies and organisations. However, the bloke sat next to her from the Council was asked if the Council were compliant, he said that his Council “are currently looking into it”. If all organisations have to be GDPR compliant, then how will the politicians send us all their party political mailings asking us to vote for them!

Overall, it seems that nobody is quite sure how GDPR will affect individual situations, it is legislation designed for application to massive companies to stop them abusing the data they hold (using it for wrong purposes, or selling it on, etc), but it is applicable to everyone so even one landlord with just one tenant will have to comply with all the GDPR rules.

Are any other landlords having trouble understanding the GDPR compliance rules? Getting misinformation or contradictory advice? Are all landlords aware of how GDPR will affect them, and what they need to do?



Simon Smith

17:29 PM, 25th April 2018
About 2 years ago

I have properties in 3 different entities ( 2 Companies and personally) Does that mean I have to register 3 separate times and pay £35 x 3 or as I manage the vast majority of them myself can I get away with just paying 1 fee- A lot of Landlords now have proerties in their own name and a Company and I wondered how this would work for registering with the ICO

Robert Mellors

21:13 PM, 25th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Smith at 25/04/2018 - 17:29
Hi Simon, my guess is yes you would need to register each entity separately, pay three lots of fees, and have three sets of policies etc. However, if all doing same thing and all using same sort of data in the same way, then you may be able to simply duplicate the policies but change the name of the data controller (your name or your company names etc).

Chris Clare

10:29 AM, 26th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Smith at 25/04/2018 - 17:29
Simon the answer to that is whatever you need it to be, let me explain.

If you want to go belt and braces then yes you can and should register all three businesses.

However if you only want one registration you can also do that, but you need to do it in a certain way.

You as the sole trader register with ICO. You then manage your one property and also act as the managing agent for the two companies. Now this is the important bit, you are the sole keeper of the data on behalf of the customers (Companies) and tenants. As long as the companies do not hold or process any of the data and only you as the sole trader/agent do the processing and storing then there is absolutely no reason for the two companies to register.

If you go to the self assessment page on the ICO website and put this scenario in you will see it says you do not need to register.

David Price

8:47 AM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Clare at 26/04/2018 - 10:29
But do not forget the other "got yer", as an agent you must belong to a redress scheme which costs more than ICO registration!
All this reminds me of the three laws of Thermodynamics, expressed in layman's terms
1 You can't win you can only break even
2 You can only break even at absolute zero (-273C)
3 You can't reach absolute zero

Chris Clare

10:00 AM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

You are correct. Whilst focusing on one fire I forgot there might be others haha.
Back to plan b register all of them and copy the processes across £105 is indeed cheaper than any property redress scheme and that’s without client money protection.
Does anyone know if there is a way around this?

Michael Barnes

19:15 PM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Clare at 25/04/2018 - 12:11
"The problem is you have a legal right to pass the tenants details to the plumber but no legal right exists for you to pass the plumbers details to the tenant, unless, that is, you set up a GDPR privacy statement between you and all your tradespeople."

I believe that is not the case.
The tradesman's data are not personal data, they are data associated with his business.

GDPR is about the processing of personal data of natural persons

Mandy Thomson

21:58 PM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 23/04/2018 - 16:34
Good point, Robert and this had occurred to me as well. Small tradesmen often struggle with admin as it is - they are too busy doing their core work so they're often forced to their admin between jobs on the go or at unsocial hours. I simply can't see them sitting down and swatting up on GDPR then doing data mapping.

A possible way around this is to give the tenant the tradesman's details, then it will be the tenant volunteering their details. While this will work in the majority of cases, it won't work with more challenging tenants, who tend to be the least co-operative with maintenance jobs as it is, let alone if the onus is put on them to organise the job.

Another possible solution is for the landlord to act as go between, relaying messages between the tenant and tradesman, without passing on the tenant's details, other than the property address and perhaps a first name once the job is booked.

Mandy Thomson

22:00 PM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Most landlords have been required to be ICO registered for some time, but it's only with the onset of GDPR that the ICO have made this clearer on their website.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

23:06 PM, 28th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 25/04/2018 - 12:37
Hi Annie, did you see any advice on MLA website? I somehow was not able to. Any tip how to find it? Thank you so much!
We registered a few weeks ago, and now we issued privacy statement with a new contract we just signed. I asked few friends and in other EU countries LLs are not even aware that they are affected by GDPR. Something is fundamentally wrong in this country.

Mandy Thomson

7:47 AM, 29th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 28/04/2018 - 23:06
GDPR documentation and advice is now available on the NLA website here:

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