Landlord Referencing Members are not in breach of the Data Protection Act - Here's why : | Discuss

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Landlord Referencing Members are not in breach of the Data Protection Act - Here's why :
05/02/2014
2:18 pm
DATA CONTROL
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Today LRS has had an interesting telephone conversation with an LRS member who (again) had been warned via various parties that they would be in breach of the Data Protection Act by uploading the names of their tenants, good and bad, onto the LRS Lifestyle database.

 

Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate the following information :

 

Landlords and Lettings Agents ARE NOT in breach of data protection by uploading their good and bad tenants names onto the LRS database;

 

LandlordReferencing.co.uk 

  • does not store data on a scoring system
  • does not store information such as county court judgements, etc
  • is not a tenant black-list
  • does not give / sell any of the information submitted by our members to third parties
  • Is fully registered with the Information Commissioners Office for Data Protection; ICO Number: ZA119508.
  • landlordreferencing.co.uk simply provides a landlord/agent with a tenants last landlords details if they receive a “Match” to the LRS database.

Furthermore, the “Landlord Notes” section on the LRS Tenant Upload form is only visible to the landlord who has uploaded the tenant and no-one else – primarily to enable that landlord to recall the specific tenant if a fellow landlord/agent contacts them for a reference.

This also means that landlords and letting agents can upload old tenants if they do not have written tenancy agreements in place as it is acceptable by the ICO Data Protection that a landlords existing data can be used if:

‘The Processing is in accordance with the “Legitimate Interests” condition. So long as a tenant has provided details for a reference and has moved into your property (entered tenure with you), you are able to upload them to the LandlordReferencing database for referencing.’

 

However, to make it absolutely clear to the tenant and for the avoidance of future doubt, Landlord Referencing recommends that for new tenants that landlords/agents amend their tenancy agreements to include written authority with regards to Data Protection requirements;

IMPORTANT – DATA PROTECTION

I agree that you may process, use, record and disclose personal information. You may make such enquiries as you consider necessary in connection with this or any future application to, or agreement with, yourselves or any member of the Landlords Referencing Service. You may disclose information about any of my applications or agreements to any fraud avoidance scheme in which you participate or any credit reference agency which will keep details of searches and information about any accounts, including defaults. Such information may be shared with other businesses.

You may disclose information about me and my agreement to the organisation sponsoring this programme for the purposes of identifying other products and services, which may be relevant, and for calculating the amount of any reward offered by any such organisation.

Verified LRS members can also take advantage of the (free) LRS “one-click” Tenancy/Guarantor form, Employer & Landlord Reference form and Accountants Reference form – which has the above clause within, and is a great time-saver for busy landlords/agents.

06/02/2014
9:27 am
Paul Routledge
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This week has been a funny old week at LRS because we have seen the resurrection of those demon rumours from those who wish to try and stop us being successful saying that we are illegal. I first heard it from a member who said that his local landlord meeting had told him that we were a black list and trading data illegally and that they must not use us and their referencing was just as effective but legal. Oh how sad is that! I say to this canard, why would any association not use or recommend a system to their members that will help them so much instead of just watching their members (who pay a subscription to them to help them) pass their bad tenants around to one another.

So, after a good presentation last night at the Bristol forum where I addressed over 70 landlords, one angry scornful lady said that even after all I had said she still thought the website was illegal. I explained to her that it was not illegal and that after 4 years of trading and still growing, having been scrutinised by every possible source from the ICO, Clearcast (the advertising authority) right through to local solicitors, it has been unequivocally proven that what we do is safe and legal. However, some seem to benefit from a blind eye and insist that this is not evidence enough and so we continue to be the subject of vile rumours to try and keep us the best kept secret from landlords and letting agents in the UK. One landlord said that he could not believe we had been going for so long and had grown so large and he had still not heard of us, I have to say, if we want to stop taking each others bad tenants we all need to shout a bit louderLaugh .

The lady who raised the question of our legality then said that she was not a data protection expert but she still thought it was illegal. I of course replied that I was data protection savvy, and we were not illegal, on the contrary, we are the safest system available.  But I still felt very embarrassed and angry that someone would have the hostile brass neck to try and discredit something which was there purely to protect landlords and then declare they did not have any knowledge of what they were talking about and all just to put doubt in the minds of everyone in the room and possibly deter them from using us.

The lady, when she realised that the ICO argument was lost, then tried to accuse me of avoiding questions from people – question which clearly had not been asked!  I tried to talk to her after the meeting but as soon as it was over she was down the stairs and first out of the door.  I do not know who this lady was and guess I never will, she could have been a disgruntled tenant or a competitor in referencing but whatever she was, If she was not just plain batty, then it is very disappointing that someone would try and apply the bogey man tactics to try and continuously defame us. I relish being challenged on what we do because it gives people the knowledge that we are safe, legal and can help them and it also helps us get better at seeing our faults and correcting them, however when some attack us because they do not like the fact that we stop bad tenants ripping other decent human beings off, I find that sort of action indefensible. The good news is that the impact was minimal as many came up to me afterwards and said they were going to join, thank God for common sense and the bulldog spirit eh!.

This sort of action just makes me and the team even more determined to get the message out so, if you have a meeting that you want me to come and talk at during which I can explain why we are legal and why we are growing at such a fast rate, then let us come and tell your landlords or letting agents how not to take one another’s bad tenants for free (to those who interact and upload tenants) or for as little as £7 for those who just want security.

If you have any problems with what we do please book a tutorial free here (Book a tutorial)

Join us free today

 

Paul Routledge CEO
Tenant Referencing UK.Com
06/02/2014
9:57 am
Phil Wheeler
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Hi Paul,

I agree I find it frustrating when someone doesn’t understand what I’m trying to explain. To the extent they think I’m wrong. Some people cannot be convinced because their beliefs are so in grained. Others need some persuasion – the feel, felt found technique is very powerful and effective at overcoming objections.

 

i know how you feel, someone I spoke with on our helpline felt the same way but after looking into it, the ICO guidelines and other information they found that it was a legal referencing tool to stop me taking your bad tenant.

you can apply feel felt found to any objection. Active listening helps too. So you obviously have a good reason for asking that question, do you mind if I ask what it is? This helps get to the point.

so I can be sure I understand your question more clearly why do you feel it’s illegal? 

Rick Otton the Lease options man has heard it a lot and try’s one of two approaches. 

1 I wouldn’t be involved in something illegal and neither would the 000s of members on our website from Police Officers, NLA, RLA, solicitors etc.

2 madam may I ask what you do? yes I’m a traffic warden. Ok do you ticket random cars without checking them? No? We’ll trust that I’ve invested my time and money researching and founding the best referencing site for Landlords and done this like you would to your job to the best of my ability.

Persuasion techniques help but also remember you did the best job you could at the time. Perhaps she had an agenda. Not everyone will like us or what we do. It doesn’t matter just that we keep sharing the message.

 

keep up the good work Paul – I appreciate what you’re doing and I’m sure everyone on here feels the same. We just cant come to all the meetings to support you! 

 

Thanks for all your efforts!

Let Sir Terry Wogan explain it - > http://www.mostpeoplesavemoney.co.uk

 

06/02/2014
12:24 pm
Paul Routledge
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Micky,

I understand the concept of coaxing the message across by metaphoric comparisons as I spend a lot of my weeks talking to people about the legalities of what lifestyle referencing is about, but this lady did not want to hear anything which did not suit her agenda and us being legal was not on that agenda.

I have come across this problem many times and because the ICO’s guidance is very broad and it relies on peoples fairness and honesty and all of us not being excessive when we use the data the ICO tends not want to get involved, so it allows the doors to be opened to misinterpretation from those with malice in mind.

Unfortunately we are always the subject of this accusation because what else have our competitors got to stop us, as I always say at these meetings, why would landlords & letting agents not join a scheme that helped them stop taking one another’s bad tenants and the answer is of course they would join, unless it was illegal. So if you wanted to scare people off the obvious thing to do is to tell them it is illegal.

Nice to say we have already had 11 new members this morning so they obviously did not beleive her or unlike her read the bit on datya protection.

 

Paul Routledge CEO
Tenant Referencing UK.Com
06/02/2014
7:08 pm
PaulBarrett
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I would suggest that this woman was a ringer.

Probably from Shelter or a LA who could see their expensive referencing not being used by LL.

I would be very suspicious of anyone who stated that LRS was illegal.

Clearly there would be a hidden agenda.

I am amazed that these LL you talked to had not heard of LRS.

How is this possible!!?

Have you had the chance to ascertain why these LL knew nothing about LRS!?

This may give you an insight as to how to approach such LL with the LRS message.

I think you need to set up a youtube presentation the same length as your meetings.

Then somehow get this link out to PRS LL and LA.

I think it must be the case that very few LL engage with the internet and consequently exist in their own little worlds unaware of what is going on in the industry.

I reckon if LL knew about LRS they would join and use the services; but they don’t know about you.

It seems the most effective way to get your message across is the personal visit.

But as you so often state advising one LL can lead to that LL advising other LL and so on.

I don’t know any PRS LL in my area; how would I find out!?

Only the LA have those LL details and for obvious reasons the LA won’t advise LL of LRS.

If you attempted to come to my area there is no way I would know about you to attend such a meeting.

06/02/2014
7:28 pm
zipster31
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Paul Routledge said
One landlord said that he could not believe we had been going for so long and had grown so large and he had still not heard of us, I have to say, if we want to stop taking each others bad tenants we all need to shout a bit louderLaugh .

Lol, said landlord obviously doesn’t do much research with regard to his referencing. I found you just be Googling “landlord referencing” and other similar terms a few years ago. You appeared quickly in the search and I wasn’t even specifically looking for you. Glad I did though and have never looked back. Keep up the good work guys!

06/02/2014
11:04 pm
Phil Wheeler
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Paul Routledge said
Micky,

I understand the concept of coaxing the message across by metaphoric comparisons as I spend a lot of my weeks talking to people about the legalities of what lifestyle referencing is about, but this lady did not want to hear anything which did not suit her agenda and us being legal was not on that agenda.

I have come across this problem many times and because the ICO’s guidance is very broad and it relies on peoples fairness and honesty and all of us not being excessive when we use the data the ICO tends not want to get involved, so it allows the doors to be opened to misinterpretation from those with malice in mind.

Unfortunately we are always the subject of this accusation because what else have our competitors got to stop us, as I always say at these meetings, why would landlords & letting agents not join a scheme that helped them stop taking one another’s bad tenants and the answer is of course they would join, unless it was illegal. So if you wanted to scare people off the obvious thing to do is to tell them it is illegal.

Nice to say we have already had 11 new members this morning so they obviously did not beleive her or unlike her read the bit on datya protection.

Thinking about it Paul, I think that woman was one of my ex bad tenants. You can see on the system my good tenants that I’ve also uploaded (all of whom I very grateful for) but she is probably the one that left me with almost £3000 of arrears or the other one who refused to clean the house when she left (the ones we don’t want and can’t afford to have.) She told the Judge recording our conversation was illegal and the Judge didn’t fall for the illegal objection either ruling in my favour.

When she applies for another tenancy she’ll realise why she can’t repeat her theft with other landlords or tell lies to Judges.

Only someone with an agenda or a very bad Landlord experience would have such a strong opinion of your solution. If she’s the latter then I feel for her.

 

Let Sir Terry Wogan explain it - > http://www.mostpeoplesavemoney.co.uk

 

06/02/2014
11:40 pm
Amy
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Professional hecklers and someone sent in by the ambulance chasers Smile

06/02/2014
11:56 pm
JackandJill
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LRS keeps its information private.

What does data protection Law cover? 

In reality data protection should protect the information that we are forced by law to give the Electoral role.

Information that we deem private. I know that I would not go into a pub and tell everyone my name and where I live.

Yet  people can buy that information online.

It seems the Electoral Role  can sell information that we are forced to give them, to any Tom **** ******* **** **** ******** ******* ***** **** **** **** ***** ******* ********* ******** *** **** ****** ********** ************ **** *********** ************* or Harry- who in turn can phone text and email us into the ground with sales calls.   Stalkers can pay for this information, thus maybe endangering a life. No protection there. 

The Doctors are all up in arms because the government is giving their private medical records out.

Doctors are being threatened with large fines if they do not release the information. Welcome to the PRS sector doctors Confused

I remember being told that I could not tell the utilities that my new tenants had moved in . Data Protection.

Now they are begging me to keep them up dated. They even ask for a copy of their contracts and where they have moved to. 

Nope. Could be protected information Smile

What a mess. 

07/02/2014
8:40 am
Paul Routledge
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Hi all,

Some great posts here thank you.

Data protection has been used by everyone over the years to get out of being transparent; recently even the ICO made an unprecedented statement that they were concerned about unscrupulous people using data protection to hide behind.  The data protection act has such broad boundaries that when it was introduced it was made to look like we could not pass on any information, about anyone at any time and today that false impression of what data protection is really supposed to do has been embedded into our souls a bit like when your mum told you if you pull a face in the wind you will stay that way!. I still do not do it at 56 just in case….

Data protection is in place to make sure that crooked people can’t use our data to spam us or clone our identities; it is not there to stop perfectly decent people who are trying to offer others a home whilst protecting their interest from referencing together. We always tell our members to be honest about what they say and not to be unduly derogatory about a tenant, but if a landlord finds a bag of cocaine in a tenants flat after that tenant has done a runner he can then put down, Tenant owes x in rent and left x in property damage and we found a bag of cocaine in the flat which we handed to the police,  (dont forget no one else sees this information apart forom the person who uploaded it) and if you had proof of these comments then the ICO would deem that fair and the truth. However if they go on to say that they never liked the guy because he only had one eye in the middle of his head and one leg shorter than the other and ears like Shrek then the ICO may deem that as excessive because it becomes personal and a matter of choice therefore prejudice.

Our members are not stupid and after looking at many comments uploaded by landlords I have not found one that says they do not like a tenant because of something that would be interpreted as prejudice, all of their comments relate to rent arrears and property damage and/or anti-social behaviour towards neighbours or other tenants mostly in blocks of flats or HMO’s.

For those who are looking to join but concerned about data protection, do not let those who are intent on stopping us uniting together put you off by saying you are breaking data protection laws, you are not,  you have a legitimate interest in referencing a potential tenant with someone else who had a legal contract of tenure with that person and that is very much legal as all you are trying to do is confirm your applicant tenants story about their past rentals.

 

Paul Routledge CEO
Tenant Referencing UK.Com
07/02/2014
9:35 am
trudy
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Talking of Data Protection, it is true that when people don’t understand something or don’t know what they’re talking about they hind behind the line “I can’t do that, it’s against Data Protection”.

This actually happened at my local council office yesterday when I went to hand in some paperwork for one of my tenants, who couldn’t get there as he has just started a new job, and the woman on the desk said that she couldn’t take it as it was against data protection ?! ?!

I said I had done this on a number of occasions for my tenants and eventually she took it – but it certainly speaks volumes on the need for everyone to be educated on the Data Protection Act, even our own Local Authorities !! Yell

07/02/2014
10:03 am
David Price
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Trudy, next time ask her which section of the Data Protection Act you actions contravened.  Chances are she has never seen a copy of the act let alone read it.

07/02/2014
10:26 am
Paul Routledge
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trudy said
Talking of Data Protection, it is true that when people don’t understand something or don’t know what they’re talking about they hind behind the line “I can’t do that, it’s against Data Protection”.

This actually happened at my local council office yesterday when I went to hand in some paperwork for one of my tenants, who couldn’t get there as he has just started a new job, and the woman on the desk said that she couldn’t take it as it was against data protection ?! ?!

I said I had done this on a number of occasions for my tenants and eventually she took it – but it certainly speaks volumes on the need for everyone to be educated on the Data Protection Act, even our own Local Authorities !! Yell

Trudy that is exactly what they do, they just hide behind it and because it is such a mine field of guidance and legislation people simple cannot argue with someone who says “Sorry it is against data protection”. If you don’t want the kids to go into a derelict building you say “The boggy man lives there” and you will guarantee most will steer well clear and if you don’t want to hand out information to another person which is relevant to them easy “The data protection rules apply there”.

Letting agents have been hiding behind it to protect their tenants from the landlord dealing direct for years. But the stupidest thing of all is that if you get turned down for credit the credit card company who has got all your information on you from a third party apparently they cannot give you your own information because it is against data protection. So to find out what is wrong with you, you have to pay again to get your own information and then when you ask them what was wrong with your file, why did they turn you down  as all seems ok to you, they say we cannot tell you because it is against data protection. I would prefer them to use the Mrs Brown method and just say we don’t like your face now Feck off.. lol Laugh

 

Paul Routledge CEO
Tenant Referencing UK.Com
07/02/2014
1:53 pm
trudy
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David Price said
Trudy, next time ask her which section of the Data Protection Act you actions contravened.  Chances are she has never seen a copy of the act let alone read it.

 

I will definitely be doing this next time David Laugh

24/02/2014
2:17 pm
News @ Tenant Referencing
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Some interesting information here for landlords and tenants regarding Data Protection and the ICO :

 

Data Protection | Landlords and tenants – CLICK HERE to read on.

 

 

04/03/2014
4:12 pm
therealdemon
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Most people have no idea what the Data Protection Act 1998 is for, or the revisions (Disclosures) 2003.

 

The simple fact is that it was designed to stop companies giving or selling personal data to third parties that were not entitled to have it.  These days it is used as a Brick to smack you over the head every time you call a company you do business with such as your Energy Supplier, Cable Company etc.

It makes my blood boil when after several questions, the idiot then states – “I just need to take you through data security” and will ask typically my name, address and date of birth.  At that point I interrupt, advise them that I am a licenced and registered Data Controller under the Provisions of the Act and that the questions they just asked are Public Information and could they ask me something that identifies me as the account holder… silence normally followed by, ‘It’s Company Policy.”

 

… and here is the real wind up.  After reporting numerous companies to the IFO, I am told that they can do nothing about a companies policy… and then they wonder why since the act was introduced, data theft and identity theft has risen over 1,000%…

04/03/2014
4:53 pm
David Price
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therealdemon said
Most people have no idea what the Data Protection Act 1998 is for, or the revisions (Disclosures) 2003.

And what really makes me mad is that the individuals who ubitiquously say “cant tell you, Data Protection Act” have never actually seen a copy of the act and certainly cannot tell you which section applies.

28/03/2014
9:17 pm
LyndonBaker
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David Price said

therealdemon said
Most people have no idea what the Data Protection Act 1998 is for, or the revisions (Disclosures) 2003.

And what really makes me mad is that the individuals who ubitiquously say “cant tell you, Data Protection Act” have never actually seen a copy of the act and certainly cannot tell you which section applies.

David, I had experience of the DPA when my late father was first diagnosed with dementia and before I was given Power of Attorney and later after his death. In the first cases I was asked if I had his permission to talk to them. I tried explaining that he could not give permission because Doctors, care workers and social workers had ruled that he was not capable. I even offered to forward a scanned copy of the Doctor’s letter that I had submitted to the Court of Protection. The insurers were the best FrownI asked the person to repeat their name and confirmed that the house would be empty for at least 30 days and more. I then informed them that the call was, according the them, being recorded and I was making a note of the day and time.

The best, after his death, was British Gas who have a “Bereavement Section” and none of this DPA cr*p! Most understanding and explained exactly what they needed from me. The worst was Orange aka “Nothing Nowhere” who kept calling his land line asking to speak to him despite, on every occasion, being told that he was dead. At one point I even said, “Yes, you can speak to him IF you are a ******* medium”.

As you said, they all quoted the DPA but when challenged then fell back on “Company Policy”! Yell

31/03/2014
12:56 pm
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 ICO | 8 Data Protection Principles – CLICK HERE to read.

04/05/2016
4:39 pm
YAY101
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I’ve always thought this type of thing broke the data protection rules. But having just found this link through twitter I’ll definitely be joining to upload my good and bad tenants. Laugh

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