Data Protection Gaffe for Rent Smart Wales

An investigation has been launched into Rent Smart Wales after the details of hundreds of landlords who have yet to register with the scheme were revealed via email.

Rent Smart Wales, intended to raise the standards of the rental sector, has been compulsory for all landlords since November. The scheme recently contacted those who had started but not finished the registration process, however the email addresses of all recipients were visible in the message.

The scheme was set up by the Welsh Government in an attempt to stop standards flagging in the buy to let sector. Of the 208,000 privately let properties in Wales, just 65 per cent had been registered by the deadline in November. The message, sent out by Cardiff council, had aimed to rectify this.

The email read: ‘We are writing this email to you as you have a started but not complete (sic) landlord registration with Rent Smart Wales.’

The council claims to be aware of an issue, and is currently investigating this.

Director for Wales for the Residential Landlords Association, Douglas Haig, said: ‘We have long been warning of the need for greater security around the Rent Smart scheme to prevent this kind of error occurring. With landlords and letting agents expected to register by law, they need to have the confidence that their personal details will be handled sensitively. Whilst we are sure this was an innocent mistake and a simple case of human error, we would like to see measures put in place to ensure it cannot happen again.’

A spokesman for the scheme at Cardiff council added: ‘Rent Smart Wales is aware that an issue arose on February 2, 2017 in relation to contacting customers. Rent Smart Wales and the City of Cardiff Council take data protection seriously. The matter is currently being investigated in line with the council’s data protection policies.’

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