The details of thousands of buy to let landlords were posted online Friday 22nd July by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council seemingly following a Freedom of Information request. The information has now been removed following an intervention by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
The FOI request had asked the council for details on landlords so that an individual could contact them about buying their properties. The Council subsequently released the details of 12,000 properties and their owners in their online response on as website run by mySociety, WhatDoTheyKnow.com, which they claim is a not-for-profit social enterprise, “based in the UK but working with partners internationally. We build and share digital technologies that give people the power to get things changed, across the three areas of Democracy, Freedom of Information, and Better Cities”.
When the incident was brought to the RLA’s attention, realised it was a breach of personal details and was investigated and removed. “We raised our serious concerns over the data breach and which in our belief was a breach of the Data Protection Act,” the RLA said, and “we will now be urging the council to undertake a full investigation into this breach and ensure this does not happen again”.
“This incident does go to highlight the amount of data councils collect on landlords, mostly through council tax records and shows that licensing is not needed for councils to identify landlords. Councils need to utilise the data and powers they already have to tackle criminal landlords in their areas, rather than penalising good, hard-working landlords that provide high quality housing.”
Council releases 12,000 landlord names online https://t.co/f2AsGKt0ga
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) July 29, 2016