GPRLA open meeting on landlords’ registration with the Data Protection Office by 28th February
GPRLA Open meeting
GPRLA is holding an open meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday 26th January at the Guernsey Yacht Club, Castle Emplacement, with guest speaker Rachel Masterton, Deputy Data Protection Commissioner. Rachel will be talking about the Data Protection Law registration process and giving an overview of other requirements of the law, followed by a questions and answers session.
Please arrive promptly because the Club, and therefore the meeting, will close at 8 pm. This meeting is also open to interested non-member landlords.
The ODPA website now includes at the start an explanation and video explainer of the registration process and who is required to register, so please visit www.odpa.gg and click on ‘register here’ and then ‘watch this short video’ in the wording, to view this. Any questions can be emailed to the Data Protection Office firstname.lastname@example.org or call 742074.
Meeting between GPRLA representatives and ODPA, points of law
On Thursday 17th December two members of GPRLA Council met with the Deputy Data Protection Commissioner to establish ‘trigger points’ and discuss various scenarios in the different ways we may hold and handle data about our tenants.
We will attempt to give you a simple explanation/guide of what this ‘all encompassing’ 2017 Law of some 270 pages + 9 Amendments/Instruments requires us to do!
The Data Protection Guernsey Law changes with effect from 1st January 2021. It will require all landlords (exceptions being i) landlords using the full services of a ‘Managing Agent’ or ii) landlords letting their property to a company rather than an individual – see below for details) to register with the Authority and pay, in the majority of individual cases, the annual fee of £50. It does not matter if you personally (or jointly) own a single property or multiple properties, the single fee is payable. See Section 39 of the Law.
Should you hold a letting property in a Limited Company, then the company has to be registered and pay the fee. If you hold letting property in your personal name/s plus additional letting property(s) in a company, one plus one per company registrations will be required. See Section 39 of the Law
By Definition, Section 111 of the Law will require all of us to register as ‘Data Controllers’, because we hold, either filed electronically or in paper form, our tenants’ names, contact details and derive income from them directly or indirectly. The fact that our tenants potentially hold more data about us (i.e our bank account details), makes no difference as it is we who provide a ‘service’ in exchange for rent. By example, all news (delivery) agents, window-cleaners, milk-round owners, childminders, plasterers, tilers and all sole traders providing a service in exchange for income (invoiced or otherwise), are required to register even though, in many cases, the personal data held may be minimal.
Under Section 75 of the Law, ODPA has the power to determine the size of any fine it wishes to impose on those individuals or companies that breach the Law – failure to register may be considered a breach of the Law. Criminal breaches can be referred to the Courts of Justice, but Section 84 of the Law provides for an Appeal Process.
Please note, just by registering and paying the annual fee is only one small element of the Law requirement. Personal Data is potentially sensitive information that we may hold on any living person or individual. Such information must be held securely and respected in a caring manner. We recommend you seek further clarification of the Law and its requirements at www.odpa.gg
If you employ a Managing Agent to find your tenants and/or conduct a partial management service you will be considered a Data Controller. If you employ your agent to conduct a full management service on your behalf (exception i) above), you will pay that managing agent fees to act in all matters including finding tenants, holding deposits, collecting rents, maintaining your property and remitting rent directly to you every month/quarter. The managing agent will act as a ‘buffer’ between landlord and tenant. In this case the managing agent may be considered the Data Controller, but it will be necessary for the landlord to obtain a letter of comfort from the agent confirming that the agent acts as the sole Data Controller, and meaning there is no need for the landlord to personally register with ODPA. However, should the agent consider the landlord has any involvement by holding the tenant’s data, it may consider the landlord is a ‘Joint Data Controller’, meaning both the landlord and the agent will be required to register with ODPA.
FINALLY – Please do not refer any queries regarding this Law to GPRLA. For further guidance, we recommend you visit the Data Protection new-look website www.odpa.gg or phone an ODPA advisor on 01481 742074 or email them to email@example.com. In their new-look website, apart from the registration process itself, we are hoping for something helpful for landlords and sole traders but currently (12th January 2021) landlords are only covered by the ‘For Organisations’ pages.
The above is purely a simplistic guidance based on information given at our discussions only, and not a definitive document. GPRLA will not be responsible for any statement made in this document and advises it is wholly based on the authors’ interpretations and opinions on information given by ODPA both at the meeting and in subsequent emails.