Lax attitudes to GDPR compliance ‘putting tenants at risk’

ICO warns all operators within the housing sector including landlords, agents and housing associations, to comply or face consequences.

gdpr crisis data loss

Landlords and agents have been warned that too few of them are compliant with current GDPR rules by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

This follows several complaints from tenants that their personal data had not been protected, putting them at risk of distress, discrimination, identity theft, or physical harm.

“We have received a number of complaints from residents who have been failed by poor data protection practices from their housing association, company or landlord – whether that’s inaccurate record-keeping, leading to anxiety, or necessary repairs being refused due to a misunderstanding about data sharing,” says Helen Raftery, Head of Data Protection Complaints at the ICO.

Although she says her concerns are aimed at housing associations, she adds that “our complaints data suggests that there is a lack of understanding about data protection law by some organisations in the UK housing sector”.


Propertymark, which runs GDPR webinars to help lettings and sales agents comply with the law, implies the ICO’s warnings should be a wake-up call for the sector.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark

Nathan Emerson, CEO, says: “Propertymark understands the importance of estate and letting agents complying with GDPR law and it is crucial that agents make themselves aware of the legislation in order to avoid any breaches or legal fines. Propertymark advises estate and letting agents to register and attend the webinar where they will receive expert help and advice.”

The risks of not complying with GDPR are not just regulatory. As The Neg reported two years ago, agents who are lax face reputational damage from being ‘named and shamed’ by the ICO and/or having to pay compensation for data losses or illegal disclosure.

Read the ICO warning in full.

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