New rules, which apply to new residential tenancies granted from 1st February 2016, oblige landlords and, in certain circumstances letting agents, to check the immigration status of all potential occupiers of residential accommodation.
These new rules have data protection implications because the landlord, (or the landlord’s agent), will be collecting personal information about the would-be tenants and any of their dependants that will be living with them.
This means that the individual or organisation collecting that personal information will be a data controller and so will have to be registered with the ICO, (or perhaps amend can existing registration to cover Right to Rent matters). It also means that the personal information collected can only be used in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and that consideration will have to be given to (amongst other things):
- How that information is kept secure
- With whom and how it is shared with others
- How long it is kept
- The rights of those who’s personal information has been collected
It is essential that landlords and letting agents understand their obligations and responsibilities under the DPA as they carry out these checks.
Further details about the checks are set out on the Government website gov.uk using the search term “Right to Rent”.