As a landlord handling personal information you have a legal responsibility to comply with data protection law, the GDPR and may need to register with the ICO. In this post we will take a step-by-step look at the ICO sign up process for landlords.

Data protection for landlords

As a landlord you are likely to be collecting and using information about tenants such as their name, address and other personal information, as well as information about other contacts. Data protection law and the GDPR means that as a landlord you are obliged to collect, store and protect this information correctly.

Do you need to sign up with the ICO?

One of the requirements of good data protection practice is to register your business (as a landlord that might be a limited company or just you as a sole trader/individual) with the Information Commissioner’s Office or ICO.

If you are a landlord and you are handling personal information then you will almost certainly need to sign up with the ICO as a data controller and pay a fee.

This short questionnaire from the ICO will help you decide if you need to sign up: Does data protection law apply to my business?

How to sign up with the ICO

You can sign up with the ICO by going directly to the ICO website.

If you have, or have recently formed, a limited company you may automatically receive a letter from the ICO inviting you to register with them. If you haven’t received this letter you can still register anyway.

What does it cost to register as a landlord?

The cost of registering with the ICO depends on the size and turnover of your business.

The ICO’s fee-assessment tool will show how much you will need to pay.

Currently micro organisations (those with an annual turnover up to £632,000 and no more than 10 members of staff) pay a tier 1 fee of £40 a year. Small and medium organisations (maximum turnover £36 million and up to 250 staff) pay a tier 2 fee of £60. Larger organisations pay more while there are fee exemptions for some types of organisation.

Things to do before you register as a landlord

Before you sign up with the ICO it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with what data protection is and the data protection responsibilities for landlords.

This post explains more: What Are A Landlord’s Data Protection Responsibilities?

You will need to complete your application in one session and before you start you will need to have:

  • The name and address of the business you are registering.

  • Details of how many staff you have, and your turnover.

  • Details of what type of business you are running.

  • Credit/debit card or other payment details.

The ICO registration process for landlords explained

To get started on the ICO sign up process go to this page and select First Time Payment. The registration form will open.

Here’s a walk through of the procedure:

  1. Give some basic information about your and your business.

    Say whether you are an individual/sole trader, a partnership, a limited company or if you use some other business format.

    Give your name and address and your business name if you have one.

    Screenshot for example landlord ICO registration

  2. Give information about the type and size of your organisation. This information is used to assess the fee payable which will be shown when you complete this section.

  3. Give contact details for the person who is paying the fee.

    Screenshot for example landlord ICO registration

  4. Say whether you need to appoint someone as your Data Protection Officer (a DPO) or not.

    A DPO is generally only necessary if you process certain special categories of data or track or monitor people’s behaviour online or by CCTV on a large scale. Most landlords will not need to appoint a DPO but the form will ask questions to ascertain whether you need one or not.

    Screenshot for example landlord ICO registration

  5. Choose options from the drop down boxes which most closely describe your business sector, sub sector and nature of work.

    Screenshot for example landlord ICO registration

  6. Check the information you have provided and make a declaration that the information is correct.

    Screenshot for example landlord ICO registration

  7. Lastly, enter your payment details to complete your ICO sign up.

How to renew your landlord registration

The data protection fee is an annual fee, to avoid worrying about it the ICO offer a Direct Debit payment option that will automatically renew. Otherwise, it is a good idea to make a diary note to pay the fee again after 12 months. You can renew by selecting Renew on the ICO website.

Penalties for not signing up

If you are liable to pay a data protection fee and do not pay the ICO can issue a penalty charge of between £400 and £4,000. Over the last six month the ICO has issued over 500 penalties to organisations who did not pay the fee.

More information

If you are using PaTMa Property Manager this stores your data safely and helps you fulfil your responsibilities as a landlord under data protection law and the GDPR. However, you still need to register with the ICO.

For more information about data protection for landlords and the GDPR visit the ICO website here.