Letting Agent refusing to disclose correspondance with tenant?!

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    Letting Agent refusing to disclose correspondance with tenant?!

    Hi,

    I'm a bit stuck here. I'm having to take a previous tenant to court for unpaid rent and damage to the property, along with doing things to the property without permission. Now, to build my case, I asked my letting agent for the correspondance they've had with the tenant during the tenancy. They have refused under data protection and because it would 'put them in a vulnerable position'.

    My issue is if they have given permission for things without contacting me etc, then i'm going after the wrong person. Surely I have a right to see correspondance regarding my property? I can't see a sensitive data issue as obviously I have the tenant's information and anything which was disclosed and is sensitive could surely be blanked off?

    #2
    They don't have a right to withhold this information.

    It may be difficult to force them, though. But you could sue them for compensation, and of course sack them.

    Comment


      #3
      What does it say in your contract with the letting agent about this type of thing?

      Ask the agent point blank if he agreed to the alterations and get the reply in writing - don't mention wanting it for a court case. If he refuses to reply it does suggest the obvious. You could also report him to any trade body he belongs to and end your contract with him - make him sue you instead - bet he doesn't.



      Freedom at the point of zero............

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        #4
        The data protection act is irrelevant in this context. The agent is an agent for you, and is effectively you. What they get you can get.
        This would be like a solicitor refusing to disclose to his client a reply he has received from the other side.

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          #5
          The agent can always redact anything they consider to be personal data if they refuse to give you the information otherwise.

          As the only information that they're likely to have on any corresondece is the tenant's name and address (which you, presumably already have) and their own name(s) and addresses, which they'd happily give you, it's hard to know what they're worried about.

          In this case, they're technically a "data processor" as you are the "data controller", because you are the instigator of the data collection, and the agent is simply gathering the data as a result of your agreement with them.
          In my experience, letting agents don't know anything about data protection (any more than anyone else does) so argument is, essentially, pointless.

          No landlord I've ever met has registered with the Information Commission as they should, either.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
            What does it say in your contract with the letting agent about this type of thing?

            Ask the agent point blank if he agreed to the alterations and get the reply in writing - don't mention wanting it for a court case. If he refuses to reply it does suggest the obvious. You could also report him to any trade body he belongs to and end your contract with him - make him sue you instead - bet he doesn't.
            In what sense sorry? In terms of allowing the tenant to do things to the property it was agreed any alteration including hanging up photo-frames would be discussed with me first.

            Obviously the tenant knows the correspondance between her and the agent - so she potentially has an unfair advantage going to court. As someone suggested above, if they have no right to withhold the information what's the best way about getting it?

            Thank you for your help so far!

            Comment


              #7
              With respect to references it says here on Tessa's blog that landlord's are entitled to see references. I think the same arguments, which seem sound to me, must apply to anything in the agent's possession. The position is summed up nicely by "legally the agent is like an extension of the landlord, and legally, dealing with an authorised agent is the same as dealing with the landlord direct".

              In any event section 35(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998 applies:

              Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions where the disclosure is necessary—

              (a) for the purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings (including prospective legal proceedings), or

              (b) for the purpose of obtaining legal advice,

              or is otherwise necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights.


              Go and wave that under the agent's nose.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                In any event section 35(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998 applies........
                I've used this argument numerous times. Doesn't half put the wind up the desk monkey who usually quotes DPA so that they don't have to go looking for archived files or provide evidence they made an arse of things.
                Remind the agent that they could be summonsed by the judge to provide the info if not freely given.
                I may be a housing professional but my views, thoughts, opinions, advice, criticisms or otherwise on this board are mine and are not representative of my company, colleagues, managers. I am here as an independent human being who simply wants to learn new stuff, share ideas and interact with like minded people.

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