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Landlord Licensing Data Still Being Abused

GDPR

Many local landlords are receiving letters from unknown businesses in direct contravention of GDPR regulations stating, "we got your details from the Portsmouth HMO register" even though the landlords no longer have Licensed properties and never gave PCC permission to share their data.

What Is Going On?

As mentioned in recent blog posts, too many potential landlords sign up to 'make a fortune from property' courses and are seduced with promises of 'no money required' schemes based on 'rent to rent'  or using other peoples money to fund developments and are given unrealistic examples of others who have made a fortune this way.  

A number of these courses hand attendees a template letter to send to local landlords and a copy of an HMO register containing names and addresses of local landlords to send the letter to.  We have one member who quoted her example of receiving 3 identical letters in one week. See current example here

The issue is that we have not consented to such marketing and the PCC lists which are circulating are not current - typically they are from the days of Additional Licensing which ended in 2018.

What Do PCC Say?

Earlier this year, Paul Fielding of PCC responded, "My understanding is that our licences are held and made available as outlined under section 232 of the Housing Act 2004 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/232

This requires that licence registers are made available upon request and will have contained information relevant to Part 2 or Part 3 licences as outlined within the 2006 regulations. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/373/regulation/11/made

The public register is updated on a monthly basis and therefore any relation to Additional HMO licensed properties would have ended in August 2018 when the scheme ended. I have looked at the current register and there is no mention of your name on that register. 

We do not appear to have provided Bunked with a copy of any current register within the past year, and therefore they may be using an old register from prior to August 2018 which would have been requested in line with the legislation at the time.

If anyone requests a copy of the current register, there is a proviso attached on the top of the register and as a statement stating that the register is not intended for marketing purposes and nobody has given their consent for their details to be used.

I hope that this satisfies you that the council are not holding or supplying information incorrectly. However please come back to me if this does not satisfy you."

What Should You Do?

If you ignore it as most do, gullible potential landlords will continue to be sucked into the industry without the skills or experience to operate or manage HMO's, problems will occur, councillors will seek to address them and regulations and licensing will get worse - so DO NOT ignore these letters.

When you receive one, you should:

1. Write to the sender telling them that they have contravened your rights under GDPR and ask them to desist

2. Report the letter to the appropriate local authority (PCC?) so that they are aware of the abuse of the Licensing system (in that way, if at some time in the future the inexperienced investor contravenes local rules, we have an evidence trail showing the local authorities complicit involvement)

3. Report the issue to the ICO.  As a landlord you have to pay an annual charge to the ICO, so get your monies worth and demand protection.  (Start here https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/ )

Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.

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