GDPR for landlords – What you need to know

Are you GDPR compliant written on blue vector background with a checklist on the leftThere’s exactly a month to go until 25 May 2018, the day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the UK. So landlords, do you know how the new rules will affect you?

What is GDPR?

The EU-wide act is replacing the UK’s Data Protection Directive on the processing of personal information. It affects everyone who holds personal information about clients. This includes landlords storing and processing the personal data of their tenants both electronically – using computers or systems that processes information automatically (CCTV, digital cameras, smartphones, etc.) – as well as physically storing hard copies of documents (think passport copies).

It is important to clarify what is meant by personal data. It not only includes names, dates of birth and bank details, but also basic contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses. Personal information covers anything that can be used to identify an individual on its own or in combination with other data.

How does GDPR apply to landlords?

Landlords will need to ensure that they are processing tenant’s data more rigorously. GDPR is actually a good opportunity to take a look at how you’re organising tenancy documents in general and to improve your processes, making them more efficient.

Consent is a major part of GDPR, so you must ensure that the information you have about your tenants is only used for the purpose it was initially provided for and agreed to by the tenant. You’ll need additional consent if you want to add them to a mailing list, for example.

So what do I need to do as a landlord to be GDPR-compliant?

  1. You will most likely need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you’re processing information for property management. There’s a quick registration self-assessment test on the ICO’s website, where you can check whether you’re exempt.
  2. Review what personal data you hold, make sure it’s up to date.
  3. Review how you’re storing the information. If it’s physical, store it safely in a secure locked cabinet. If it’s digital, make sure your computer is virus-free and difficult to hack. Check whether the services you’re using are GDPR compliant. Dropbox, for instance, will be.
  4. Organise your files to delete what you no longer need but note that you will need to hold on to some documents after your tenant vacates for legal reasons, this is allowed under GDPR.
  5. Don’t assume you have consent, ask for it. The time will come that you’ll need to send over a repairman to fix something in your property, and you’ll want the tenant to coordinate the visit themselves. Don’t just hand over their phone number, get the tenant’s permission first.

Romain Coleman, landlord and property solicitors

Confused about your legal responsibilities as a London landlord? Our team of landlord solicitors is happy to help with any legal dilemmas you may have. We are experts in several issues landlords encounter with tenants, including:

Give us a call today on 0208 520 4555 to discuss your circumstances.