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DPC orders letting agent to take down tenant review site

23 May 2019 / GDPR Print

DPC in takedown of letting agent's tenant review site

Property letting agent PJ McCann wants to go live with a prototype of an online database of tenant reviews because he is tired of dealing with “vexed landlords” who have had their properties wrecked.

He says the anonymised index will rate tenants about whether they have paid their rent in full and on time and the condition in which they left the property after leaving.

Evidence about bad tenants, such as photographs of uncleared rubbish and  unpaid bills will be held on the database.

However the Meath-based managing director at McCann & Curran Realty says he was ordered by the Data Protection Commission to take down the first iteration of the site and told he would be slapped with a €10,000 fine if he failed to comply.

McCann says that landlords are now routinely given legal advice to “pay off” bad tenants and give them a cash lump sum to vacate a property.

McCann points out that AirBandB and other online sites operate on a review system and asks why the same principle doesn’t apply for longer-stay tenancies.

Landlords who have fallen victim to bad tenants simply want to air this information so the same thing won’t happen again in another property, he says.

Clause

He proposes inserting a clause into a lease agreement which would require tenants to agree that information can be held about them on this database.

“There has to be a way to rate and review prospective tenants,” he says, pointing out that frustrated small-scale landlords are being driven out of the property market and their place taken by vulture funds who buy up entire apartment blocks.

“Everything else in the online world is rated," says McCann.

“My database will have online reviews at the touch of a button.

Agencies

“There are no professional reference checking agencies operating in this country,” he points out. Landlords must ‘read between the lines’ of references.

He said that bad tenants are being ‘paid off’ to get out of a house and this trend is driving smaller landlords out of the market.

“Bad tenants in some cases don’t pay their rent for a year then they get a lump sum to leave the property,” he says.

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