Landlords and GDPR – What do I need to know?

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Data protection is changing in a BIG way, and Landlords and Letting agents who handle any personal data need to be aware of these significant changes, around obtaining consent from anyone to process data and more stringent requirements about privacy and record keeping. Read more about it here!

 

In previous times if you had email addresses etc, it was quite easy to write an email, newsletter or send an offer to all and sundry as they had the option to ‘un-subscribe’ should they wish to be removed from your list.  However, give it a month or two and they would magically re-appear on the same list!

With the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May of 2018 all of this has changed. Consent is now a massive part of the requirement, and it is no longer acceptable to obtain acceptance by non-engagement from people, to be able to market to them.

What’s included within GDPR? The definition is ‘personal data’ which is extremely broad.  If the information held relates to any individual regardless of status, family or business then it is classed as personal data. This even includes any phone numbers, addresses, bank statements or credit searches etc if any individual can be identified by it.

When looking at your obligations under GDPR this also goes as far as looking at third parties that have an involvement within your business (such as contractors and anyone that handles tenant information) and changing your processes to include them.  For example if you pass the tenants information to someone for referencing additional consent may be needed.

Not only will you now need to explain why the data is being collected and what you will be using it for, but the new regulation will require the individuals full consent to this (such as an email confirming acceptance). GDPR calls for “Clear and affirmative action” so wherever possible, gaining a signature is probably best.

It is up to Landlords and Letting Agents to understand their own responsibilities under the new regulations or face heavy penalties (up to 4% of the annual turnover) so any of your policies and processes not following the GDPR requirements will need to be changed.

These changes can be implemented NOW, so don’t delay be compliant today!

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