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Corporate governance

‘Does GDPR affect me? I’m only a private landlord.’

‘Does GDPR affect me? I’m only a private landlord.’

In case you hadn’t realised, GDPR ‘D-Day’ was on 25th May 2018. In the days leading up to it, there was an increasingly frantic stream of emails from businesses, which you may or may not ever remember dealing with. Each email appealed for your attention and for you to give the originator that all important ‘consent’, so that they can keep in contact with you.

Even though GDPR has been on the horizon for a few years, the recent flood of emails and regular discussions in the media about the new regulations have ensured that you simply could not avoid the issue. This has meant that even at this late stage, a number of people have started to wonder whether GDPR actually affects them too. In a nutshell, GDPR affects anyone who holds or processes personal data for anything other than private use.

Nowadays, private landlords are commonplace. Many landlords rent either a single property or have a very small property portfolio for rent and may not consider GDPR to be relevant to them. The reality is quite different; in that being a private, residential property landlord, you rent to individuals and as such you are bound to hold even the most basic level of personal information.

You may well hold the following personal data about your tenants:

  1. Names (and of course their address)
  2. Phone numbers
  3. Email addresses
  4. Age
  5. Bank details
  6. Employment details
  7. Credit/employment/personal references

…the list goes on.

As you can see, even if you use the services of a property managing agent and you have no direct dealings with your tenants, you are bound to have some of the above information (personal data), albeit, from the initial rent agreement.

If you manage your own properties, you probably have most of the above information and so have accumulated a substantial amount of personal data. However, you may not have even considered that this puts you firmly into GDPR territory.

Therefore, the very short answer to ‘does GDPR affect me as a landlord’ is yes!

This article from the Residential Landlord’s Association will provide further guidance on GDPR for residential landlords.

The extent of what you need to do to ensure that you don’t fall foul of GDPR depends on numerous factors. A lot of useful information is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the regulators of GDPR. You can access information from the ICO on their website.

GDPR therefore affects all landlords, to a greater or lesser extent.

A related issue is whether landlords need to be registered with the ICO and pay an annual subscription fee. The answer largely depends on whether they hold/process personal data electronically. This simple series of questions will enable you to determine whether you need to register with the ICO –

If you don’t hold personal data electronically, you probably don’t need to register. But be careful, since simply having your tenant’s phone number on your smart phone will probably be treated as holding personal data electronically, therefore it is likely that you will need to register with the ICO.