Do we landlords have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office

by Readers Question

5 days ago

Do we landlords have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office

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Do we landlords have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office

Do we landlords have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)?

I have read that all landlords need to by May 25th.

Is this true because it sure is not getting much attention?

Many thanks


Editors Note

There is a self assessment test on the ICO site to ascertain if you need to register with them for Data Protection

Registration self-assessment >>

“Under the Data Protection Act individuals and organisations that process personal information need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), unless they are exempt.

By going through the following questions you will be able to decide if you – as an individual or on behalf of your business or organisation – need to register with the ICO.”

Number 3 is the Key Question for Landlords on the self assessment test:

Do you process the information electronically?

Answer ‘Yes’ if you process the information using computers or any system that can process the information automatically, including CCTV systems, digital cameras, smartphones, credit card machines, call logging and recording systems, clocking machines and audio-visual capture and storage systems.

If you answer NO the response is: You are under no requirement to register

Organisations that do not process personal information on a computer are exempt.  You therefore do not have to register with the ICO

However, it is important that your organisation adheres to the principles of the Data Protection Act (DPA) and understands best practice for managing information. To help ensure you are complying with the DPA, we have produced a range of training materials including practical toolkits, training videos and more.

You can still register voluntarily if you wish.

If you answer Yes the response at the end of the assessment is in nearly all cases that you will need to register with the ICO

Definition of Processing data:

“Processing, in relation to information or data, means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data, including –

(a) organisation, adaptation or alteration of the information or data,

(b) retrieval, consultation or use of the information or data,

(c) disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, or

(d) alignment, combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of the information or data.”


Thank you 'editor' . It looks like pretty much all landlords will have to. A further question, should landlords really have been registered already or is it the GDPR going further than the data protection act than is in effect requiring it?

Neil Patterson

5 days ago

GDPR covers new additional regulation once you have already been assessed as processing data.

I can't see this being an issue for landlords that use letting agents or landlords with a small number of properties that do not store information electronically eg a photocopy of ID. The ICO is not there to catch people out, but to make sure data is not misused.

Luke P

5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 13/03/2018 - 10:56
I would suggest *every* landlord, including those using an agent, will have some of the data own their own computers…perhaps emails or statements etc.

Paul Mullally

5 days ago

Sorry, I don't agree. I would say it depends on whether you personally reference the tenants or not and store their financial information/reports. I hold name and address details (email and phone), and that's it. I use an agent to do the referencing and in most cases, it's either a yes/no answer.

If you hold enough personal information to enable you to impersonate/open bank accounts in their name, then definitely yes, otherwise I don't see any requirement.

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 13/03/2018 - 10:56Thank you. What about tenants to be email id (ie for right to rent)? Technically should they already be registered under the Data protection act legislation? Or is it just under the new regime it is required? The ICO website does have a exemption page where it states '
Disclosures required by law
Personal data is exempt from the non-disclosure provisions if you are required to disclose it:
by or under any UK enactment; '

Ann Shaw

5 days ago

I'd just register with them so there's no ambiguity, and you're not worrying. It's pretty easy to do online, and it's only £35.00 per year per data controller. Belt and braces, and will also give your tenants more peace of mind if you're handling any of their data. Don't forget, utility companies ask for tenants DOB, full names and their previous address details. Especially water companies with regards to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. Unless you're handling absolutely no personal data whatsoever, I'd play is safe and register.

Luke P

5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Mullally at 13/03/2018 - 11:09
Merely obtaining and storing is enough to warrant registration.

Neil Patterson

5 days ago

An email used and stored is electronic processing if it contains Data that can identify an individual.

"What are the exemptions from notification?

Most organisations that process personal data must notify the ICO of certain details about that processing. However, the Act provides exemptions from notification for:

organisations that process personal data only for:
staff administration (including payroll);
advertising, marketing and public relations (in connection with their own business activity); and
accounts and records;
some not-for-profit organisations;
organisations that process personal data only for maintaining a public register;
organisations that do not process personal information on computer.

Organisations and individuals can use our online self-assessment tool to check whether they need to register with (“notify”) the ICO."

There is no hard and fast rule though I can give Landlords. As a Data controller I can only assess and be responsible for requirements of data held by my company.

Reply to the comment left by Ann Shaw at 13/03/2018 - 11:59I am rather more concerned that many landlords are simply not aware of the in effect requirement to register under the DPA let alone the new regime. For eg I did a quick look around the names of some landlords in my neck of the woods (via the public hmo register) and even the second biggest landlord with 100+ properties only registered 4 years after becoming a ltd company let alone started. After all at this stage a landlord registering when should have been for years might be a daunting. And I am just talking ones who get the data with consent for legitimate purposes let alone those who don't (admittedly small in number)

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 13/03/2018 - 12:03
I may be wrong here but photo copy of ID in an email could be exempt under the 'accounts' and 'records'criteria?

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