E-mail Leak:

An investigation is underway by Cardiff City Council (image shows Cardiff City Hall) after details of hundreds of landlords who have not yet fully registered on the “Rent Smart Wales” scheme were revealed to all in an e-mail message.

Rent Smart Wales is a Wales-wide scheme aimed at registering all landlords and agents in Wales in an attempt to raise standards of renting.

One of the main arguments against landlord registration is that private landlords’ personal details will be available to all.

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The leak appears to involve those landlords who have started but not finished the registration process and their email addresses of all the recipients can be seen in one email message that was sent, breaking confidentiality rules.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council told the BBC that it is aware of an issue and it is being investigated.

Since 1st November 2016 all landlords who rent out property need to register with Rent Smart Wales by law. This scheme was set up the Welsh Government primarily to help tackle rogue landlords and bad letting agents who give the private rented sector a bad name.

It is estimated that there are 208,000 privately-rented properties in Wales, but by the deadline for registration only 65% of landlord had registered.

The BBC report that the email sent out told landlords:

“We are writing this email to you as you have a started but not complete (sic) landlord registration with Rent Smart Wales.”

Douglas Haig, director for Wales for the Residential Landlords Association, told the BBC:

“We have long been warning of the need for greater security around the Rent Smart scheme to prevent this kind of error occurring.

“With landlords and letting agents expected to register by law, they need to have the confidence that their personal details will be handled sensitively.

“Whilst we are sure this was an innocent mistake and a simple case of human error, we would like to see measures put in place to ensure it cannot happen again.”

A Rent Smart Wales spokesman at Cardiff council has said:

“Rent Smart Wales is aware that an issue arose on February 2, 2017 in relation to contacting customers.

“Rent Smart Wales and the City of Cardiff Council take data protection seriously. The matter is currently being investigated in line with the council’s data protection policies.”

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