Category Archives: Gdpr

New data protection forms

Keeping data safe

Much of the information we hold or have the ability to access about our customers is only available to us by the permission of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesties Revenues and Customs (HMRC) This means that we (the council) are not free to decide how it is used. This has always been the case, but GDPR has meant that both agencies have tightened up their rules on how we share their information and who we can share it with considerably.

 
There can be severe consequences for any local authority that doesn’t comply with DWP / HMRC requirements. More generally, as GDPR takes its effects we have also had to look at all other types of information we hold about our customers and the combined result is that we have had to review our own procedures substantially. One of the actions that has come out of this process is that we have had to re-design our Data Protection Waiver form. The new version which we need people to start using immediately is available here.

 
Please also see this document which sets out some more detail about our data protection requirements. In the bullet points below – I’ve picked out just a few things I want to emphasize.

 
To stress some key points about contacting us and the new waiver form:

 
• Most information landlords ask us for is already held by their tenant. For example, if an application has been received, whether we are awaiting information or if an assessment has been made. Wherever possible, landlords should check these points with their tenant before attempting to contact us.
• If a landlord is already receiving direct payments of Housing Benefit, they can see all of their payment information over our online landlord portal. They can also see whether a new claim has been registered or if an existing claim is in payment, cancelled or suspended.
• Data Protection Waiver forms can no longer be used to give permission for all staff within an organisation to contact us. Instead – forms can only give permission for a named individual within that organisation to contact us. Although there is no reason why the tenant cannot complete more than one form naming different staff members.
• If we currently hold one of the earlier data protection forms – we will accept one enquiry being made by the stakeholder, but would immediately ask that they provide an up to date form, before we can accept any further queries.

 
We don’t want to make things more difficult for anyone but we are working under some very tight constraints about what we can or can’t share. For more information see the document we have linked to – or drop me an email at oliver_wright@sandwell.gov.uk

 
Oliver

Important Information for all landlords and agents – GDPR

Yes & No

The Housing Quality team keep a data-base of email addresses for landlords who want to keep in contact with us. Because of the new GDPR rules we have had to contact landlords to see if they are happy to remain on that list.

If you have responded already – thank you.

We will soon be sending you a ‘privacy statement’ to explain why we are holding your information, how we will use it and how long we will keep it.

If you have not yet responded, after 25th May 2018 when the GDPR regulations become active, we will need to delete the main database and your emails. After that date we will have no means of contacting you individually to inform you of any upcoming events and legislation changes. You should still see the blog, but you won’t get any of the separate notifications that we send out from time to time.

And a quick reminder on some of your responsibilities.

As landlords, you should also be issuing a Privacy Statement to all your tenants and be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

I would also like to remind you that as of 1 October 2018 there will be changes to the HMO licensing laws. From that date ALL HMOs with 5 people or more, in 2 or more households, sharing facilities REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OF STOREYS will require licensing. For more information please contact the Duty officer on 0121 569 5232 or email Private Sector Housing PrivateSector_Housing@sandwell.gov.uk

Finally, I’m sure you are aware that we work closely with our homelessness team and often approach you requesting accommodation.
The team is offering a new Bond scheme to help landlords help us, for more information contact Lisa Gardner, lisa_gardner@sandwell.gov.uk

Finally, once again I urge you to give us permission to keep your email details (if you have not already done so) so we can keep you up to date on all the changes that are happing in the private rented sector and contact you privately if need be.

If you have never been on our contact list and would like to be added anyone – just drop me an email – elizabeth_mooney@sandwell.gov.uk

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Liz Mooney

 

GDPR and you.

Attention - GDPR

It’s often bad writing or even rude to rely on things like BLOCK CAPITALS to make your point. It looks like you are shouting at your reader. But this is a special circumstance.

 
GDPR – GET YOURSELF READY NOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

 
Now back to good manners . . .

 
We know that some landlords are still not aware of their responsibilities under the new rules that take effect on 25th May. We have posted on this before at length. I won’t go over old posts again, but there are links to them on the right hand column of this page if you want to read them. You must get yourself informed. I would strongly the website of the Information Commissioner and the relevant pages on gov.uk. The various landlord professional bodies and trade organisations are also carrying a great deal of information on their respective web sites.

 
You must make sure you fully understand how this will affect you and the penalties of getting things wrong.

 
Oliver

If you are a private landlord . . . read this!

Private Landlords and GDPR

You are hopefully aware now of the changes that come into effect this May – the General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR. (And if you’re not aware – you should be!) They affect all private landlords, even if you only have one property that you rent out. We can’t take any responsibility for making sure you know everything you need to – that’s your job as landlord, but where we do have useful information we will do our best to share it.

 
One requirement that GDPR will bring Is that you need to register yourself as a ‘data controller.’ I’ve just had some guidance on this point from one of the council’s GDPR specialists. Note the bit that’s underlined.

 
She tells me that . . .

 
“All landlords would need to register as a data controller, even those who only have one tenant. Landlords who aren’t currently registered, if they register before 25th May they will only have to pay the original £35 instead of the new £40 fee. If they sign up to direct debit then the ICO will only charge £35 going forward. This is all explained in the link above.”

 
There is more information on this at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/business/
We will keep you posted with more updates when we can.

 
Oliver