New EU data protection legislation is set to be introduced in May 2018, which could see buy to let investors and letting agents facing fines of up to 4 per cent of their annual turnover.
Under the new EU data protection legislation GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998, individuals will be issued greater protection. The introduction of this legislation will impact the way that letting agents and landlords are able to collect and use tenants’ data.
Compared with current legislation covering personal data, the new GDPR guidelines will strengthen an individual’s data protection rights. Before the regulations are finalised and published, a public consultation will be held to discuss consent, profiling, transparency and administrative fines.
Managing Director of Arthur, a property management software company, Mark Trup, explained: ‘Letting agents and landlords need to be aware of the changes to data protection and should start putting in place the new measures that will be come into effect next year. A key change is a ban of the use of pre-ticked opt-in boxes, which means failure to opt out will not constitute consent. Letting agents will need to keep clear records to demonstrate individuals’ consent. Individuals must also explicitly agree to their data being used for different purposes. For example, the letting agents will need consent to pass on a tenant’s contact details to a contractor for maintenance work. Tenants could request that the letting agent or landlord wipe all their contact details from their records.’
He added: ‘Letting agents and landlords need to start creating new data privacy within their systems as the new legislation is just six months away. The Information Commissioner’s Office is encouraging businesses to review how they are seeking, obtaining and recording consent and whether they need to make any changes in the run up to the commencement of the regulations in May 2018.’