As a landlord, you certainly put a lot of faith in your tenants: you allow them full access and full responsibility of your property, you let them live, by and large, as they like and how they like; you put a lot of risk in their hands. But, it’s important to remember that the relationship works both ways, and tenants trust you with a good deal of confidential information. It’s worth knowing what you can disclose and what you can’t, so here’s our quick guide to tenant confidentiality.
Basic Personal Information
Though it may seem harmless at first, disclosing personal information about tenants could well be illegal. Be cautious with names and addresses, but take special care to ensure that you don’t release things like national insurance numbers, welfare details or bank accounts without permission. A common mistake can be to give tradesmen tenant bank details to refund a bad job they paid for, but you should always ask in advance.
If you are in the middle of a legal dispute with your tenants you need to be extremely careful about what you say. Any facts of the case may be disputed and sharing them with others could get you in trouble if rumour comes back to the tenant. If you need to disclose something to, say, your landlord insurance provider, you should check with your lawyer what you can and cannot release.
Gossip and Comment
Landlords do like to meet up and discuss difficulties with their property and that is perfectly acceptable; in fact, you will be doing other landlords a favour if you can help them out. However, be respectful to your tenants and don’t mention surnames or addresses in passing conversation; someone may have a personal connection with your tenants and an ill-placed comment could see them moving on very quickly.
However frustrating tenants can be, remember to treat their personal information with respect. Not only is it illegal to share confidential data, but it’s impolite and can very quickly earn you a reputation as an unprofessional landlord.