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The introduction of GDPR will see landlords having extra responsibilities with respect to data collection. There will be focus on how data is collected, handled and stored, and there will likely be an impact on the working practices for many landlords.

Consent must be obtained by landlords when collecting data

The key element of GDPR comes with obtaining consent from clients, and it is no longer acceptable for landlords to use blanket clauses in order to obtain consent from a client or tenant. Some of the main aspects of the regulation will fall on:

  • Providing clear instructions of why the data is being collected and how it will be used
  • Obtaining clear consent to collect the date
  • Making sure the tenant is happy for the data to be collected

A landlord that meets these elements will find that they should comply with the regulations. The main focus of GDPR is “clear, affirmative action” and it is recommended that landlords obtain a signature from clients when they collect data. This will provide the landlord with proof that they have spoken to the tenant and engaged them about the practicalities of GDPR.

Some landlords may have to review their working practices

The new legislation is relevant for data that has already been collected, so landlords should be aware that this includes all of the data they hold. It would be wise for landlords to review the data they hold and to make sure that it was obtained in a satisfactory manner. If not, a landlord is advised to re-confirm the data with the tenant, this time outlining why the data is being collected and held.

Landlords should also be aware that any data that is shared with a third party will fall under the new legislation. Other issues to consider will be if data is transferred. If so, it needs to be transferred in a secure and safe manner, which again may impact on the working practices of landlords.

It is likely that there will be landlords who wonder what the point of them complying with the new regulations are, but there are some serious penalties in place. Anyone found to be in breach of the new regulation could find themselves facing a fine of 4% of their annual turnover. For large firms, there is the potential of facing a fine of up to €20 million, which is a sum that would stop virtually everyone in their tracks. Landlords are unlikely to face a punishment of this magnitude but the potential for a serious penalty should be enough to ensure that landlords comply with GDPR.

At Austin Property Services, we are always on hand to assist landlords and if you would like to discuss GDPR or any other matter, please get in touch.

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