Have I breached the DPA 1998 in contacting Guarantor for tenant's rent arrears?

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    Have I breached the DPA 1998 in contacting Guarantor for tenant's rent arrears?

    I let out a property privately; Tenant late with rent payment for 2nd month; Letting agent provided reference and contact details for a guarantor as tenant's new employment hadn't started - at sign up I forgot to contact guarantor for his signature (honestly never dealt with a guarantor before, or ever needed one as tenants thus far have been great). Three days after failing to hear back from tenant re 2nd late payment I emailed guarantor asking for them to contact me re arrears. Tenant found out and has goes crazy sending me threatening emails at all hours stating she's been informed by a solicitor she's entitled to upwards of £8k for damages from me due to distress caused by my breach of DPA 1998 (suspect she's contacted one of those no-win/no-fee organisations, given that she now claims to be out of work with no means to pay rent due). It was an honest error on my part in that guarantor was omitted from tenancy agreement - I've not contacted them again since. Does tenant have a legitimate claim against me?

    #2
    I would ignore the tenant.

    They almost certainly haven't contacted anyone - no one would be able to give such a specific amount of damages and you don't appear to have breached the Data Protection Act.
    Nor do I see how contacting the guarantor again would be a Data Protection issue.

    A slightly greater concern is that your tenant doesn't look like they're going to be able to pay rent and your guarantor agreement looks to be impossible to enforce or even use.
    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


      #3
      If the "guarantor" had actually signed a guarantee agreement, then obviously no, contacting them to inform them that they have this liability is not going to be a breach of data protection. In fact, one would be advised to contact the guarantor so they can't argue in court that they weren't given the opportunity to get the tenant to pay their debt so the guarantor's libaility doesn't keep increasing.

      The problem you seems to have first is that you don't actually have a gurantee agreement......
      I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

      I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

      Comment


        #4
        tenant late with rent 2 months running OR tenant has not paid rent 2 months running ?
        My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol

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          #5
          September payment was late by almost 2 weeks (but did arrive); October payment now late by 12 days (with written confirmation from T she has no intention - or income - to pay). Looks like I'll have to take legal action to evict but that takes so long.

          Comment


            #6
            Wait until the tenant owes two month's rent, which sounds like it will be the beginning of November and serve a section 8 notice.

            If you don't know how to do this, use a professional eviction service if you can.

            The tenant should want to move out to avoid going into catastrophic debt, and, if you use section 8 notice, the council won't be obliged to help her, which might push her to leave.
            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


              #7
              Thank you. I've read that the Section 8 Notice of Seeking Possession has to allow for 'A BREATHING SPACE' which would allow her a further 60 days where my hands are tied and I can't apply to the court for possession! Is that your understanding too?

              Comment


                #8
                No.
                A tenant (or anyone) who is in debt can be accepted by a debt counselling service and, if applicable, the counselling service can set up a breathing space of 60 days.
                But the debtor has to be in a debt management process in the first place and part of that management process should be to avoid debts getting worse.
                There's no point a debtor having a breathing space if all it means that after 60 days they're still about to be evicted and just owe two more months rent.

                But if someone owes a landlord money, chances are they owe a lot of other people money as well, and the breathing space may be triggered to help with other debt.
                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


                  #9
                  Another option would be to issue a Section 21 to which a breathing space would not apply.

                  Comment

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