Fri 24 Jan 2020
Rachel North, Operations Manager
We have recently been contacted by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) with regard to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) registrations in particular where blocks / estates are registered with Companies House as a Ltd company. In 2018 the GDPR came into force generally requiring Agents, Landlords and Businesses who process data electronically e.g. mobiles, computers, tablets, to register with the ICO and pay a renewable £40 registration fee. Landlords who rent out one or multiple properties are generally considered to be running a business for the purposes of this ICO registration requirement. Almost all of our Landlords receive personal data about their Tenants or prospective Tenants electronically.
We have heard conflicting reports from some Clients, in particular Landlords, that when they complete the online ICO self-assessment that the result says ‘organisations that do not decide how personal data is processed are exempt’. This no doubt is correct, but our concern is whether the Landlord / Client IS the organisation. Alexandre Boyes Group’s ICO registrations do not necessarily extend to our Clients since we do not control how Clients hold, store or process electronically received personal data. We do not control who they might pass that information on to e.g. mortgage companies, insurers, Freeholders, solicitors.
Generally speaking processing personal data means obtaining it, recording it, storing it, updating it and sharing it. Personal information or data means any detail about an individual that can be used on its own, or with other data, to identify them e.g. name, address, previous address, email address, mobile numbers, CCTV. At the moment it is a civil penalty not to register and pay the registration fee. That fine is currently anything up to £4,350.
Alexandre Boyes are certainly not legal advisers or data protection specialists. Whether someone is a Controller, Processor, Joint Controller of personal data is complicated. Exemptions are complex. But we do take data protection seriously and we can only follow the general industry consensus (e.g. advice given by ARLA our Governing body, Painsmith Solicitors specialists in property law, the Residential Landlords Association to name a few). Our advice remains the same - Landlords should register and the ICO certainly consider our Estate & Block Management Clients as needing to comply. You can visit the ICO website to complete a self-assessment. The AB teams recently sent reminders to our Clients so most of you will already be registered or have the necessary exemption but if in doubt do seek independent advice.