Data Protection Policy

We all have rights with regard to how their personal information is handled. During the course of our activities we will collect, store and process personal information about our staff, customers, suppliers and other third parties. We recognise the need to treat it in an appropriate and lawful way.

The Policy Statement

Our website and services may contain links to independent websites which are not provided by us. Such independent sites are not under our control, and we are not responsible for and have not checked and approved their content or their privacy policies.

The sort of information that we may be required to handle include details of current, past and prospective employees, suppliers, current, past and prospective customers and others that we communicate with. The information, which may be held on paper or on a computer or other media, is subject to certain legal safeguards specified in General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and other regulations. GDPR imposes restrictions on how we may use that information.

This policy sets out our rules on data protection and the legal conditions that must be satisfied in relation to the obtaining, handling, processing, storage, transportation and destruction of personal information.

A Data Protection Officer is responsible for ensuring compliance with GDPR and with this policy. The Data Protection Officer can be emailed to steven@alphaea.co.uk, or written to at Data Protection Office, 21 Victoria Street Englefield Green TW20 0QY. Any questions or concerns about the operation of this policy should be referred in the first instance to the Data Protection Officer.

If you consider that the policy has not been followed in respect of personal data about yourself or others you should raise the matter with the Data Protection Officer.

Data protection terms

This is information which is stored electronically, on a computer, or in certain paper-based filing systems.

For the purpose of this policy data includes all living individuals about whom we hold personal data. A data subject need not be a UK national or resident. All data subjects have legal rights in relation to their personal data.

Data controllers are the people who or organisations which determine the purposes for which, and the manner in which, any personal data is processed. They have a responsibility to establish practices and policies in line with GDPR. We are the data controller of all personal data used in our business.

Data users include employees whose work involves using personal data. Data users have a duty to protect the information they handle by following our data protection and security policies at all times.

Data processors include any person who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller. Employees of data controllers are excluded from this definition but it could include suppliers which handle personal data on our behalf.

Processing is any activity that involves use of the data. It includes obtaining, recording or holding the data, or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the data including organising, amending, retrieving, using, disclosing, erasing or destroying it. Processing also includes transferring personal data to third parties.

Sensitive personal data includes information about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition or sexual life, or about the commission of, or proceedings for, any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by that person, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings. Sensitive personal data can only be processed under strict conditions, and will usually require the express consent of the person concerned.

Principles of Data Protection

Anyone processing personal data must comply with the six GDPR enforceable principles of good practice. These provide that personal data must be:

(a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject
(b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall, in accordance with Article 89(1), not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes
(c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
(d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay
(e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 83(1) subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by this Regulation in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject
(f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures

GDPR is intended not to prevent the processing of personal data, but to ensure that it is done fairly and without adversely affecting the rights of the data subject. The data subject must be told who the data controller is (in this case Alpha), who the data controller’s representative is (in this case the Data Protection Officer), the purpose for which the data is to be processed, and the identities of anyone to whom the data may be disclosed or transferred.

For personal data to be processed lawfully, certain conditions have to be met. These may include, among other things, requirements that the data subject has consented to the processing, or that the processing is necessary for the legitimate interest of the data controller or the party to whom the data is disclosed. When sensitive personal data is being processed, more than one condition must be met. In most cases the data subject’s explicit consent to the processing of such data will be required. The data subject is able to withdraw consent at any time from one or all areas where it has been given.

Mail Marketing by Electronic Means

We can only carry out unsolicited electronic marketing if the person we are targeting has given their permission.

However, there is an exception to this rule. Known as ‘soft opt-in’ it applies if the following conditions are met;
(a) where we have obtained a person’s details in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale of a product or service;
(b) where the messages are only marketing similar products or services; and
(c) where the person is given a simple opportunity to refuse marketing when their details are collected, and if they don’t opt out at this point, are given a simple way to do so in future messages

Processing Data

Personal data will only be processed for the specific purposes notified to the data subject when the data was first collected or for any other purposes specifically permitted by GDPR.

We collect personal data in a number of ways, for example: in branch, over the phone, via email, via online submissions, via our terms of business and using application forms. We collect information for the purpose of assisting clients and customers with their property needs and identify other services that will assist them in property related matters.

Our terms of business and Guides to Sellers, Buyers, Landlords and Tenants also make clear that we collect information for administration and marketing purposes.

These Guides also set out that we disclose the information to our service providers and agents for these purposes from whom we may get commission or fees.

We also purchase data from third parties where the data has been collected in accordance with all applicable data protection legislation and that third party has the right to sell such data to us for the purposes of contacting individuals about property related matters.

Personal data will be accurate and kept up to date. Information which is incorrect or misleading is not accurate and steps will therefore be taken to check the accuracy of any personal data at the point of collection and at regular intervals afterwards. Inaccurate or out-of-date data will be destroyed

Period of Data Retention

We will retain your personal data for different periods depending on the service you have chosen to use us for, which may be a longer period than that for which we need to hold your data to provide those services, i.e. where we are under regulatory or statutory duties to hold your data for a longer period or need to retain it in the event of a legal claim or complaint.

More information on our data retention policy can be found in our Data Retention Policy.

Processing in line with data rights

Data will be processed in line with data subjects’ rights. Data subjects have a right to:

(a) Request access to any data held about them by a data controller.
(b) Prevent the processing of their data for direct-marketing purposes.
(c) Ask to have inaccurate data amended.
(d) Prevent processing that is likely to cause unwarranted substantial damage or distress to themselves or anyone else.
(e) Object to any decision that significantly affects them being taken solely by a computer or other automated process.

Data Security

Your data will be held on secure servers within the European Economic Area (“EEA”) with all reasonable technological and operation measures put in place to safeguard it from unauthorised access.  Where possible any identifiable information will be encrypted or minimised.

GDPR requires us to put in place procedures and technologies to maintain the security of all personal data from the point of collection to the point of destruction. Personal data may only be transferred to a third-party data processor if they agree to comply with those procedures and policies, or if they put in place adequate measures themselves.

Maintaining data security means guaranteeing the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the personal data, defined as follows:

(a) Confidentiality means that only people who are authorised to use the data can access it.
(b) Integrity means that personal data should be accurate and suitable for the purpose for which it is processed.
(c) Availability means that authorised users should be able to access the data if they need it for authorised purposes. Personal data is therefore stored on our central computer system instead of individual PCs.

Security procedures include:
(a) Entry controls – Any stranger seen in entry-controlled areas should be reported.
(b) Secure lockable desks and cupboards – Desks and cupboards should be kept locked if they hold confidential information of any kind. (Personal information is always considered confidential.)
(c) Methods of disposal – Paper documents should be shredded. CD-ROMs should be physically destroyed when they are no longer required.
(d) Equipment – Data users should ensure that individual monitors do not show confidential information to passers-by and that they log off from their PC when it is left unattended.

Subject Access Requests

A formal request from a data subject for information that we hold about them must be made in writing. A Subject Access Request form is then sent which asks for more details of what is required, which must be returned for provision of this information. There is then a 30 day (20 working day) window in which the data needs to be provided. Any member of staff who receives a written request should forward it to the Data Protection Officer immediately.

Providing information to third parties

Any member of staff dealing with enquiries from third parties will not disclose any personal information held by us. Any enquiry made must be raised with a Company Director or the Data Protection Officer, who will:
(a) Check the identity of the person making the enquiry and whether they are legally entitled to receive the information they have requested;
(b) Suggest that the third party put their request in writing so the third party’s identity and entitlement to the information may be verified; and
(d) Where providing information to a third party, do so in accordance with the six GDPR data protection principles.

Monitoring and review of the policy

This policy is reviewed annually by the Company Board to ensure it is achieving its stated objectives. Recommendations for any amendments are reported to the Data Protection Officer.

The type of information will we collect from you

The personal information we collect from you will typically include the following:

  • Full name and contact details (including your contact number, email and postal address)
  • Information relating to your identity where we are required by law to collect this to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and the Immigration Act
  • Information on your close connections where we are required to conduct conflicts of interests under regulatory obligations
  • Your banking details where required such as where you are letting a property or, where renting, to set up an approved tenancy deposit account for you and arrange for rental payments
  • Information on any access requirements you have necessary to enable us to find suitable properties for you, which may consist of special category personal data comprising details of any disability or other health information about you
  • Details about your areas of interest where we wish to send you marketing information about similar products and services
  • Usage information about your visits to our website (which enable our website to remember information about you and your preferences) and use of our site.  [Please read our ‘Cookie Policy‘ for further details.] This may include information about your visit, including [the full Uniform Resource Locators (URL),] [clicks through to and from our site (including date and time),] [products you viewed or searched for’] [page response times,] [download errors,] [length of visits to certain pages,] [page interaction information (such as scrolling, clicks, and mouse-overs),] [methods used to browse away from the page,] [OTHER] and any phone number used to call our customer service number
  • Other technical information, including what devices you use to connect to our App, device location data where this function is not disabled by you on your device, [the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet,] [your login information,] [browser type and version,] [time zone setting,] [browser plug-in types and versions,] [operating system and platform
  • Your communications with us, including a record of the email or telephone correspondence created when you contact us as part of a product or service query

Where we need to collect personal data by law (for example to meet our obligations to prevent fraud and money laundering) or under the terms of a contract we have with you and you fail to provide that data when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have or are trying to enter into with you (for example, to provide you with our services). In this case, we may have to cancel a product or service you have with us, but we will notify you if this is the case at the time.

The basis on which we process your information

The legal grounds under data protection legislation for processing your personal data are as follows:

  • It is necessary for the performance of a contract to which you are a party, or to take steps prior to entering into a contract with you, for us to provide you with our products and services
  • You have given us explicit consent to the processing of your personal data for one or more specific purposes, namely 1) where you have given us consent to receive electronic marketing by us and/or 2) to process your Special Category Personal Data described above. You do not need to provide us with marketing consent in order to receive our services
  • It is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests, except where our interests are overridden by the interests, rights or freedoms of affected individuals (such as you). To determine this we shall consider a number of factors, such as what you were told at the time you provided your data, what your expectations are about the processing of the data, the nature of the data, and the impact of the processing on you. Our legitimate interests include processing necessary to improve and to promote our services and product and to better understand our customers’ interests and knowledge of the property market and to administer the technical aspects of our service and products.
  • Where we need to comply with a legal obligation; or in rare circumstances
  • Where we need to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests); and/or
  • Where it is needed in the public interest or for official purposes

How you can withdraw your consent

You have the right at any time to withdraw any consent you have given us to process your personal data. Please note if you withdraw your consent it will not affect the lawfulness of any processing of your personal data we have carried out before you withdrew your consent. Should you wish to do so you can change your consent preferences at any time by contacting admin@alphaea.co.uk

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