In this week’s #ExpertView, Richard Jones, policy consultant and company secretary for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), reminds landlords or their obligations following the introduction of new legislation in May.

The deadline for GDPR has now passed.

Major changes were introduced to data protection rules, known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25th May 2018.

Landlords handle personal data, so MUST comply with the new rules, or face legal action potentially leading to fines, or claims by tenants for damages.

The process can seem confusing and many landlords have felt overwhelmed by the changes.

At the RLA, we have seen record numbers of enquiries regarding the changes.

In the week before the compliance deadline we saw visits to our dedicated GDPR pages jump by more than 600% – with a record-breaking day for calls to the Landlord Advice Team, which experienced the busiest day in its 20-year history.

Enquiries ranged from what exactly the regulations are, to privacy notices and whether it is necessary to register with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

The latter is an interesting question. Most landlords should already be registered with the ICO and paying a fee under current data protection laws.

While there is no requirement to register under GDPR itself, there is a provision in the Digital Economy Act meaning it remains a legal requirement for data controllers to pay the ICO a data protection fee.

If you are not currently compliant with the new GDPR legislation, the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand.

The RLA can help landlords through the compliance process, and has already produced an in-depth document providing guidance on GDPR for all landlords, as well as an exclusive members’ pack of documents and guides.

Our members pack includes:

  • A step-by-step guide outlining what landlords must do to comply
  • A landlords’ data audit checklist to help you identify what personal data you hold about your tenants and how you handle that data
  • A sample privacy notice that you can tailor to reflect your own circumstances
  • Consent forms for tenants to sign

In addition to this, we developed an online course ahead of the deadline to help landlords get to grips with the new legislation.

To date, more than 1,000 landlords have taken the course.

As part of our ongoing work on GDPR we have now extended this to include specific documentation for smaller letting agents as well as other helpful documents and guides for landlords and agents alike.

New to the site are:

  • Privacy notices for agents
  • Privacy notices for contractors
  • A log for data protection activities
  • A short form privacy notice for those landlords without websites
  • An explanation of data processor agreements

To access these resources visit our dedicated GDPR pages. You will need your membership details to log in.

Yes, the deadline has passed, but if you need to take action the time to do it is now. We can help you every step of the way.

For more on how GDPR affects you click here.

To recap, the GDPR changes that affect landlords include:

  • A new right for the data subject (e.g. the tenant) to be given a privacy notice containing information about how their data is used
  • Deadlines for the timing of providing this information
  • More stringent requirements about obtaining consent, where you rely on consent as the gateway for handling data
  • The need to record how you handle data and the decisions you make around this
  • Greater emphasis on ensuring that data is held securely
  • Stricter enforcement of time limits for holding data
  • New rights for tenants giving them greater control over what happens to their personal data
  • Obligations to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and in some cases the individual affected if there is a personal data breach

About the author:
Richard Jones is the RLA company secretary and was policy director at the RLA from 2002. Despite retiring from this role in 2015 he continues to operate as a policy consultant for the association.Richard-Jones-RLA-Resize

Richard is a solicitor in private practice and has advised many private landlords over the years, focussing on landlord and tenant and housing related matters.

About RLA:
RLA has over 30,000 members nationwide, with a combined portfolio of over a quarter of a million properties. Home to a growing community of landlords, the RLA delivers day-to-day support, expert advice and government campaigning, plus a range of high-quality services relevant to their landlord’s needs.

TDS has partnered with the RLA to bring you DepositGuard which offers RLA landlord members deposit protection at discounted rates.

About TDS:
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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