Rental Agencies and Data Registration

Is your rental agency data registered?

Rental Agencies and Data Registration

If you are looking for rental accommodation, in all likelihood you will have registered with a variety of agencies or estate agents. Eventually, you will find somewhere you are happy with. You will probably have put down a deposit to hold the property whilst you start the process of getting the agreement in place. What you will also be expected to do is provide proof of who you are, references from past tenancies and a number of other documents. Frequently though irrelevant documents are called for; for example, your National Insurance number. See the post about why you don’t need to provide this.

Acceptable Items For Identification And Proof Of Residency

Typical documents that you may be asked for (and this includes from the guarantor if you need one) are show below. There are often two lists; An example is below. Usually you will be expected to provide one item from each lists. Some agencies may ask for more and this may depend on their normal business practices and whether you could be considered a potential risk.

List 1:

  • Full National Passport
  • Full or Provisional National Driving License
  • Armed Forces ID Card
  • Signed ID Card Of Employer
  • Pensioners Travel Pass
  • National ID Card

List 2:

  • Gas, Electricity, Water or Landline Bill (not mobile)
  • Council Tax Demand
  • Contents Insurance Policy
  • Mortgage Statement
  • Full or Provisional National Driving License

Is Your Personal Information Kept Securely?

The documents listed above show what is considered to be personal data and not normally publicly available. Potentially, you could be subject to identity theft if they fall into the wrong hands. It is vital therefore that the agency you are dealing with have appropriate processes and adequate methods of storing and protecting your data. Photocopies should be stored under lock and key in a safe or scanned images held on strongly buy adipex-p 37.5 password protected media. You would probably also like to think that when your tenancy finishes that all personal data held about you will be securely disposed of e.g. photocopies shredded, or scanned images deleted. I wouldn’t bet that it is.

Is Your Agency Data Registered?

Any organisation that processes personal information must be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Failure to do so is a criminal act. Don’t assume that the agency you are dealing with. You can check if they are by asking for their data registration number and searching on the ICO site. Having a number may give an increased level of confidence, but registration, whilst enforcing a code of practice for handling personal data, does not necessarily guarantee it will be followed.

Your Digital Footprints

Summary

It is likely that you will have left a fairly substantial digital footprint with your agency, which unfortunately will probably remain with that organisation for sometime. Your personal details will have been entered on to a database, your passport or other identifying information may have been scanned. You may have provided them with details of your bank account, again perhaps scanned in and stored digitally. You will certainly have sent them emails, perhaps with personal details and attachments. All of which will now be stored on their computers and perhaps backed up, either locally or increasingly more often, in the cloud. It is highly likely that even once your tenancy has ended, that the agency will retain all of these details. Even if purged from local computers or storage, they could remain on backup media for some considerable period of time.

Risks

Consider these risks if your data is compromised through onward selling, inadequate destruction or burglary of the agent’s premises:

  • Identify Theft
  • Social Engineering
  • Financial Loss

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