Agent made unauthorised disclosure to T: confidentiality?

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    Agent made unauthorised disclosure to T: confidentiality?

    I have a friend who has a couple properties let by one of the big letting agents in the areas, I won't mention the agent by name unless there is a good reason to.

    Anyhow, in negotiating the rental amount for renewel, the agent inadvertently forwarded to the tenant the entire email chain that had gone back and forth between the landlord and agent. My friend, the landlord, is furious, as this effectively is a huge breach in confidentiality and completely ruins his bargaining power in the future with this tenant.

    In summary: The agent and landlord emailed back and forth and eventually agreed not to increase the rent as the agent advised they landlord would not be able to rerent it for more then was already being paid. The agent then forwarded this entire email chain to the tenant with the words "see below". Tenant now know that the landlord won't get more money elsewhere.

    My friend, the landlord, would like to know what recompense he can expect for this? Does this breach in confidentiality allow him to get out of his contract with the letting agent and switch agents? Would the landlord be able to get rid of the agent now and just rent directly to the tenant?

    What should my friend, the landlord, do in this ridiculous situation?

    #2
    This is a probably a breach under the Data Protection Act but it's up to your friend what action he wants to take. Has the information in any of the e-mails compromised him to such an extent that he might have suffered as a result? I merely ask the question rhetorically.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by captbunzo View Post
      My friend, the landlord, would like to know what recompense he can expect for this? Does this breach in confidentiality allow him to get out of his contract with the letting agent and switch agents? Would the landlord be able to get rid of the agent now and just rent directly to the tenant?

      What should my friend, the landlord, do in this ridiculous situation?
      It's undeniably total incompetence - how bizarre to forward the email chain deliberately! I'd be equally furious if it happened to me.

      However, given that the landlord has apparently agreed with the agent not to increase the rent, it's not clear to me what the LL's actually lost?

      Comment


        #4
        Unauthorised disclosure triggers liability, irrespective of whether any loss was caused.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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          #5
          Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
          Unauthorised disclosure triggers liability, irrespective of whether any loss was caused.
          Liability for what, though?

          Comment


            #6
            Start with breach of contract, breach of confidence, data protection, etc.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


              #7
              IIRC the DPA only provides criminal sanctions. It is possible to claim for direct losses that flow from a breach, however, again IIRC the cases limit the scope of such claims, making damages very hard to recover.

              It is not like a defamation claim where damages can be assumed.
              PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for all the replies... I am passing the link to this thread along to my friend for his reference.

                His biggest frustration is that when it comes time to renew the tenancy a year down the road, as the tenants plan to stay in the property for a while, his negotiating capability at the time is going to be quite a bit lower as the tenant knows now that the agent was bluffing in the first place when they justified the current year's attempted rent increase.

                I personally suspect that this was a one time (stupid) mistake and most likely my friend will not benefit in any way by switching agencies. I suppose it's worth considering, though...

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