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Enveloped Dwellings tax returns must be digital from April

14 March 2018

From 1 April 2018, all online Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings returns must be filed using the ATED digital service. Agents and their customers should register with HMRC now to use this service from 1 April 2018 (unless they have already done so). Read More...

HCLG Select Committee hear about MHCLG's priorities

14 March 2018

On Monday the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee heard evidence from a number of MHCLG spokespeople about their priorities for housing. Read More...

Spring Statement highlights

13 March 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled his first Spring Statement today, announcing new measures to help build the homes the country needs. Read More...





The GDPR countdown has begun

Monday 12 February 2018

General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May will mean fundamental changes in how businesses handle personal data - so if you don't already have a plan in place, now is the time to be thinking about one.

There's only 101 days to go until new GDPR legislation takes effect, however recent research from the Government has found that nine in ten businesses and charities have not even begun to prepare for the incoming regulations.

Figures published by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reveal that just 38 per cent of companies in the UK have heard of GDPR. Of those who were aware of the regulations, only 27 per cent have made changes to their operations directly as a response to the forthcoming rules. 

The regulations call for fundamental changes on how companies collect, process, and store personal data, with much more stringent rules around use of data – along with heftier fines for breaches.

So what are the key points that you need to know in order to be complaint?

  • All companies are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer who is responsible for internal record keeping.
  • Existing or prospective customers will have to give consent for the information to be held and used.
  • Companies will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of jargon - T&C's must be in an intelligible and easily accessible form.
  • Customers will have the right to request confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed and for what purpose. When requested, companies are required to provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format.
  • Customers have the right to request their data be removed and further distribution ceased.
  • The collection of online identifiers such as IP address, cookies and tags also fall under the remit of 'personal data'.
  • The use of external marketing agencies will require you to have an official written contract to ensure they are fully compliant with the new law.
  • Loss of data needs to be reported to a data protection authority and the people affected within 72 hours.

Companies that are not GDPR-ready by May will face a fine of up to four per cent of their global annual turnover; if a breach takes place and your agency does not inform the supervisor authority within 72 hours, it faces a two per cent of global annual turnover fine.

How can we help? 

Our half-day General Data Protection Regulation course provides an introduction for property agents into how to implement an effective GDPR compliant regime, and offers practical advice on business processes. Data protection pro and Partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors, David Smith, will be on hand to offer expert advice and help get you up to speed on everything you need to know, whatever stage of implementation you are at.

As part of your membership benefit package, we have also put together a handy fact sheet and have set up a legal helpline which is completely free of charge for members to call.

What's more, this year's National Conference will have an afternoon session dedicated entirely to GDPR. Former estate agent and MD of a multi-disciplinary property consultancy Duncan Hall will be dishing out hands-on advice that you can put into action straight away.

In the meantime, the ICO has created a self-assessment toolkit to help you evaluate your level of compliance with the new regulations, and find out which areas within your business you need to develop to get ready for GDPR.