Agent removes web tenant form following complaint

A real estate agency has removed an online “tenant file” which asked people interested in visiting for their bank details and their personal public service number (PPS).

Dublin and Kildare-based owley Souhan has removed a form from its website which asked for personal details from potential tenants.

The online form asked applicants which properties they were interested in before a required field asked for a PPS number.

Applicants were also asked to provide their bank details, including bank name, bank branch number, account name and their International Bank Account Number (Iban).

Employment status, including company name, phone number and position held, was also requested.

However, after Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin was contacted by a constituent expressing concern, they contacted the estate agent and the form was removed from their website.

In response to Mr Ó Broin yesterday, the estate agent said: “I admit that this issue had never been raised with us before.

“On the same footing, we have sought the advice of the Data Protection Agency RTB (Residential Tenancies Board), PSRA (Property Services Regulatory Authority) and IPAV (Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers) as we are ourselves anxious to ensure no breach of regulations occurs.

“We will be happy to receive any suggestions these organizations may have for us.”

Mr Ó Broin said: “Asking this kind of information from potential tenants is completely unacceptable.

‘There is no justification for a real estate agent or landlord wanting someone’s PPS number, employment details or bank account details.’

In a previous incident, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said there was no justification for estate agents to request excessive personal information from people wishing to view homes.

“The DPC does not consider that there can be any justification for the extensive collection of personal data such as financial statements, proof of funds, utility bills, PPS numbers of potential buyers in the early stages of advertising or hosting visits to a property,” Data said Privacy Commissioner Helen Dixon.

Howley Souhan did not respond to Irish Independent requests for comments.