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Question

Record Keeping and Data Protection (England)

Data protection – how much information should be shared with the local council

30 Nov 2016 | 1 comment

The local council called today asking questions about a tenant that has been renting from me for almost 10 years – always pays rent on time and in full plus the flat is kept in good order. They wanted me to confirm he lived at the property as they have been receiving returned post. I confirmed this but then she asked for a contact number, employment details, did he work…… I did not feel comfortable giving out this much information and said I would pop a note under his door asking him to contact her direct. I’m concerned about the data protection act and unsure how much, if any, information I can give out/share with the council and utility companies.

Thank you

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    The restriction under Data Protection Act is not that you can’t provide information, it’s that (a) you must have consent (consent is found in our application forms and tenancy agreement) and most importantly (b) where information is stored electronically (including on a smartphone), you must be registered with the Information Commissioners Office.

    Therefore, if the information (such as names, addresses, telephone numbers etc.) that you hold is on an electronic device, you must be registered as above.

    Once registered, you will have selected what you can and can’t do with information and how this is dealt with. As a general rule, as long as you are registered it will be fine to transmit the data (as long as you have consent) unless the person is legally entitled to the information.

    The local authority would generally be legally entitled to this sort of information especially where the reason for asking is genuine and something like suspected fraud. Therefore, if you’re satisfied the call is genuine (and you must be satisfied of that) it would be fine to pass the data (but only if you are registered where the data is held electronically).

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