Letter Box Seal:

The GDPR regulations, an EU directive on data protection, now incorporated into our Data Protection Act 2018, has many implications for landlords and letting agents: handling personal data when letting properties such as application forms, tenancy agreements, tenant referencing, payment bank and credit card details, etc.

This even extends to the rental property itself, as indicated below. Personal mail is personal data and any letters arriving at a property after a tenant has vacated is personal to the tenant. Experienced landlords will know that mail keeps arriving for previous tenants months, even years after they have left, even when they have re-directed their mail. Also, an open letter box represents a fire risk when paper builds-up inside a vacant property.

Property security specialists, VPS have come up with a rather innovative solution which is now been implemented by local councils, both to minimise fire risk in vacant properties and comply with the GDPR – letterbox seals are helping local authorities and housing organisations comply with the GDPR, save costs and improve fire safety, according to the company. This approach is recommended for private landlords as well.

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With the new GDPR rules in force, councils and housing organisations are required by law to demonstrate that any excess mail delivered to vacant properties is removed & disposed of in a confidential manner.  Many insurance policies insist that combustible materials are removed to maintain the fire regulation compliance of vacant sites.

Many makeshift seals have been used to overcome these problems, but now a purpose-built letterbox seal prevents the accumulation of post, helping local councils save money and comply with their obligations.

The property management specialist, VPS, who introduced the custom-made kits last month, have had them cut from steel, and already installed them in over 500 vacant properties.

Dave Butcher, VPS’ North West Operations Manager says:

“When we saw how some of our clients were sealing up letterboxes, with bits of mesh, wood, nails and so on, we designed a letterbox seal that is a well-made, easy to install, strong piece of kit that prevents combustible materials building up inside an empty property.

“There are almost 20 deliberate fires started a day across the UK, and empty properties are a prime target. With November 5th approaching, there’s an added risk of fireworks being shoved through letterboxes too.

The clear reduction in fire risk together with the savings made from not having to certificate the disposal of post delivered to comply with GDPR regulations, this simple piece of kit is an easy choice. Plus, it looks a whole lot better than slapping a piece of wood or steel mesh across the old letterbox.’

Even though VPS, who have specialised in vacant property protection for nearly three decades, and are known for their hi-tech security solutions, sometimes the simplest ideas work best they say.

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