With the imminent arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I’d like to share this conundrum with you with regards to long term empty properties, and would appreciate your views on the same.
My understanding is that by using S85, para 18a, schedule 2, of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 we can lawfully obtain from council tax records, details of all long term empty properties, and the name and address of the owners.
However, the issue under GDPR, would appear to be what we can then do with those details.
I have been advised that using the council tax data to create a mail shot to contact the owners of long term empty properties (offering help and advice in order to bring the property back into use etc.) will be classed as “marketing”, and subsequently fall foul of GDPR.
In short, unless the owner of the empty property has given consent to be contacted by the council about help and advice for long term empty properties, then we can no longer carry out the mail shot.
I understand that legislation allows “taking steps to bring vacant dwellings back into use” but am unsure how this can be interpreted within the constraints of GDPR.