On the 25th May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. The new data protection law is designed to address the way in which data use has changed, since the introduction of the Data Protection Act in 1998.
Personal data has become big business, so GDPR is designed to give people control of their data and the way information is stored and used. GDPR will affect every sector of the UK economy, including the property industry. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about how GDPR will work.
If you are the landlord of a rental property, you will need to take action to ensure you are fully compliant with GDPR. Under GDPR, landlords are ‘data processors’ who are responsible for the collection, use, and storage of their tenants’ data. This data is likely to include a tenant’s name, date of birth, phone number, email address, details of their employment status and salary, and a copy of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence. In the past, you may have collected additional data which you did not use as part of the rental agreement, or you may have held onto information for longer than you strictly needed to, once the tenancy was agreed or when the tenant moved out.
Under GDPR, collecting unnecessary data, or holding data for longer than needed will be illegal. You should make sure that the forms you use to collect data only ask for the minimum amount of information needed for your legitimate business needs. This data should be destroyed as soon as it is no longer needed. As a ‘data processor’, you are also responsible for the conduct of outside agencies which you employ to act as a ‘data processor’ on your behalf. For example, if you use a credit check or property management agency, you will need to make sure that the company is fully compliant with GDPR.
If you fail to comply with GDPR, you could be fined up to 4% of your turnover by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Your tenant may also take legal action for compensation.
House buyers and tenants
If you are looking to buy or rent a property, it is important that you have a good understanding of what GDPR means for you. As a customer who is handing over their personal details to a landlord or property agency, you have certain rights under GDPR. These rights include:
- The right to request access to your data
- The right to request that your data be deleted
- The right to portability so information can be transferred between providers
- The right to have data amended or corrected
- The right to object to your data being used for direct marketing
- The right to notification of any data breach within 72 hours
GDPR is designed to give individuals control of their personal data and create a level playing field for businesses. Finding out about your rights and responsibilities under GDPR is a key step in ensuring that the new law works for everyone.