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Can a landlord pass the names of new tenants to the utility companies?
Yes. A landlord has a legitimate interest in making sure that utility charges are directed to those responsible. However, landlords should tell individuals when they first agree to the tenancy that their details may be passed on.
Can landlords see references which were provided to the letting agents?
The agent can pass this information on to the landlord, as long as, when the reference is asked for, they make it clear to the tenant and the referee that this will happen.
Can landlords put up a list of tenants who are in arrears?
No. Information about an individual’s debts should only be given out in limited circumstances. It is only justifiable to tell tenants if someone has not paid their rent if this has a direct effect on them, for example, if they become legally responsible to help meet any shortfall.
Can landlords disclose details of a tenant who left without paying the rent?
Where a tenant leaves without paying the rent, and without making any arrangement to pay, landlords may provide their details to a tracing agent or debt collection company to help them recover the money owed to them. However, it would be good practice to make tenants aware when they sign the tenancy agreement that in such circumstances this will happen.
This may also make tenants think twice about not paying the rent.
Can a landlord pass forwarding addresses of former tenants to the utility companies?
Yes. Sometimes a landlord will become aware that a tenant has moved leaving behind an unpaid utility bill or an account in credit. In addition a utility provider may need to contact a former tenant regarding continuing social support. In these circumstances a landlord can pass a forwarding address (where known) to the utility companies as the data protection legislation is not intended to be an obstacle to disclosure in these situations. However, landlords must make tenants aware of these possible disclosures at the start of the tenancy.
When can a landlord give out information?
In general, landlords should make clear to tenants when they sign the tenancy agreement when and how their information may be given out. However, if an emergency repair needs to be carried out, it would not breach the data protection legislation to provide tenants’ contact details to the repairer. On the other hand, if a domestic contractor is looking for work the tenants should be left to contact the contractor rather than the landlord giving out the tenants’ details without their knowledge or agreement.
Information taken from the IOM Information Commissioners' Website