On the 25th
May 2018 a new piece of legislation comes into effect. It is called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It replaces the Data Protection Act 1998.
It has been designed to set out standard rules with the European Union. And, even though Brexit is looming it will still apply to the UK after Brexit.Why does it affect Landlords?
The new law effects anyone who handles or processes someone else’s personal information. As a landlord you will be affected because you will hold information on your tenants. Under the new regulation you will be known as a Data Controller and your tenant will be a Data Subject.What is Data?
Data is the information you keep about a tenant. This could include, their name, date of birth, passport number, car registration and email address. Data is not just the information you keep on your computer. It also includes printouts, scans and information written down on paper. It is any personal information you ask for as part of the tenancy agreement.Tenant’s Agreement
A change from the Data Protection Act is that for you to store or process information the tenant needs to agree. This should be in writing, rather than by word of mouth so that a record of the consent exists. You can have the agreement included in or added to a tenancy agreement. But, any kind of written agreement will suffice, even an email or text message.
The way you use the information will need to set out clearly. For example, if you are going to pass the details on to a third party. For example, because you want to do a credit check, you need to make this clear.What about the ICO?
As a landlord who handles data you might have already registered with the information Commissioner’s Office
(ICO). If you’re not sure whether you should be registered fill in their questionnaire. It only takes a minute or two and they will tell you whether you need to register or not. From May there will be a charge.How to I Keep Data Secure?
Make sure you know where your tenants’ data is stored. If you keep paper copies or you have information on a memory stick, keep it under lock and key. If your information is stored on a computer, you can password protect the information. Ensure that your own Wi-Fi connection is also secure.
As soon as the information is no longer needed delete or shred it. A tenant that no longer rents your property can ask for their information to be deleted.
If you want to know more about the new regulations have a look at the guide written by the Residential Landlords Association