UK letting agents are being cautioned by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) to reassess their data practices following a landmark case involving Deutsche Wohnen, a Berlin-based property company.
The company was recently fined €14.5m (£12.4m) for breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), marking the first GDPR fine related to data retention. This penalty serves as a significant reminder to property companies worldwide. Regulators, including the UK’s Information Commission, will view this enforcement action as an indicator of potential fines.
Deutsche Wohnen failed to adhere to its obligations to retain personal data for a reasonable duration, ensure data adequacy, relevance, and limited usage, and implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect data. Although the company made some efforts to address these shortcomings, they were deemed insufficient, resulting in a substantial fine.
The NAEA strongly emphasizes the need for property companies to regularly review their data processes and the information they retain. By staying compliant and safeguarding customers’ privacy, property companies can demonstrate their commitment to data protection.