Deadline for new data protection rules
Most landlords should already be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and paying a fee under current data protection laws.
Those who are not, but who hold and/or process their tenants’ personal data need to get in contact with the ICO and pay the necessary fee, in order to comply with new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules.
The fee must be paid by June 14 if landlords are not already registered with the ICO - tomorrow being the GDPR deadline.
The process of paying this fee includes a requirement to provide the office with details including name, address, trading name, number of employees and turnover.
In a statement the ICO said: “When the new data protection legislation comes into effect there will no longer be a requirement to notify the ICO in the same way.
“However, a provision in the Digital Economy Act means it will remain a legal requirement for data controllers to pay the ICO a data protection fee.”
In practice there is not likely to be any exemption from registering with the ICO and paying the required fee. If a landlord purely processes data manually then they are exempt from registration.
This is not likely to apply because most if not all landlords will process data via their mobile telephones, tablets or PCs.
There is no exemption from the GDPR itself and landlords who hold tenant data will need to comply with this, regardless of whether or not they need to register.
Any landlord or lettings business that has already paid its fee for the year will only need to pay the revised fee when it is time to renew. They will be contacted by the ICO to remind them close to the renewal date.
The fee will still be based on the organisation’s number of employees and turnover. Turnover is gross income including the gross amount of the rents that are received - based on a landlord’s last financial year.
Assuming a landlord has no more than 10 employees and as long as turnover does not exceed £632,000 per annum, the fee payable is £40. There is a £5 discount if it is paid by direct debit.
The fees charged will be used to fund the ICO’s data protection work. As now, any money the ICO receives in fines will be passed directly back to the Government.
If the ICO fee isn’t paid, landlords could face a civil penalty of up to £4,350.