Landlords warned over tenant privacy laws

Landlords warned over tenant privacy laws

13:11 PM, 17th November 2010, About 12 years ago

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Property investors who manage their own lettings who have not registered under data protection laws may be breaking privacy laws.

All businesses and organisations that handle personal data of customers must register with data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and follow strict rules or face prosecution.

This includes residential and commercial landlords that manage their own properties as well as letting agents.

ICO has warned few landlords and letting agents are registered under data protection laws and advises they should sign up under the rules if they handle tenant’s personal details and financial information.

Only 3,734 estate agents and 1,416 lettings agents are on the data protection register, which is a tiny proportion of the property sector.

ICO is working with several professional bodies, including the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA), and the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPOP), urging them to encourage their members to sign up under data protection rules.

ARLA and the National Landlords Association (NLA) have about 7,500 letting agent members.

Mick Gorrill, Head of Enforcement at the ICO, said: “We want to work with the industry to ensure all property agents meet the legal requirement to notify us that they are processing personal information.

“A targeted approach working with stakeholders and membership bodies has proved highly successful in other sectors. We will be writing to organisations providing them with advice and encouragement to notify.

“However, if that encouragement is ignored, we will take action against those who flout the law. The message is very clear -notify with the ICO or face regulatory action.”

In 2009/10, there was a 15% increase in notifications to register from private doctors and solicitors after ICO issued a similar warning.

That year, ICO prosecuted seven organisations and individuals for failing to notify ICO that they handled personal data.

Click here for more information about data protection registration requirements and application forms.

Good management involves high levels of skill and time commitment to minimize the risks associated with letting.

Sometimes it is simply more economical to outsource the management. For others, the benefit of outsourcing the management commitment is a lifestyle choice that outweighs the costs.

For more information about The Money Centre’s Active Property Management program please telephone our Customer Care Team on 01603 894525. We will be pleased to take details about your portfolio and refer you to the most appropriate Consultant.

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