There are regular complaints in the field of data protection law from tenants whose contact details have been passed on by the landlord. Even if the purpose of this was to enable a tradesman to arrange an appointment directly with the tenant for work to be carried out on the rented property, it is still worth taking a look at the question of whether the landlord may pass on such personal data (without consultation).
Legitimate interest and right to object
The BayLDA is of the opinion that such a procedure is basically legitimate when it comes to passing on data to craftsmen. It states this in its activity report.
The BayLDA cites a legitimate interest within the meaning of Art. 6 I lit. f DSGVO as justification. The landlord is interested in the fact that the craftsman can contact the tenant directly. This makes it much easier to arrange an appointment. Otherwise, the landlord would always be an "intermediary".
Exceptionally, however, the tenant may have a stronger opposing interest worthy of protection. In this case, the tenant has a right of objection under Article 21 I of the GDPR. The tenant must also be informed about this when concluding the rental agreement.
On the basis of the contractual relationship
In addition, the landlord can base the disclosure of contact data on the necessity in the context of the tenancy agreement (Art. 6 I 1 lit. b DSGVO). If the disclosure is to craftsmen for the repair of damage, the landlord thereby fulfills his contractual obligation.
If the disclosure to potential new tenants or brokers upon termination of the tenancy is concerned, this element of permission no longer applies. After all, the new tenants or brokers are not necessary for the tenancy to be terminated. Accordingly, disclosure to them without agreement is ruled out.
Although the landlord regularly has an interest in a quick re-letting, the tenant's interest in protecting his data is greater in this case. After all, the tenant has no relationship (of interest) to subsequent tenants or brokers.
The simplest solution as a landlord is still to obtain the tenant's consent prior to disclosure (Art. 6 I lit. a DSGVO). In this case, however, the tenant must also be informed about the possibility of revocation.
All other requirements for consent under data protection law must of course also be met. Voluntariness can be particularly problematic here if consent is to be obtained when the lease is concluded. After all, a great deal of information and consent is now required from landlords on the housing market. The potential tenants usually only accept this under duress, since living space is scarce in many places and competition is therefore enormous.
However, if the tenancy already exists and the tenant wishes to terminate it, an agreement can of course still be reached on the disclosure of contact data to potential new tenants or brokers. After all, the consent of the current tenant can be given voluntarily.
Tips for practice
Even if it is usually legitimate to pass on contact data for the purpose of making appointments with craftsmen, this issue should ideally be agreed upon when the lease is concluded out of the interest of both parties. Although such consents may be invalid in individual cases, an agreement between landlord and tenant minimizes the potential for conflict. This makes it less likely that a dispute will arise.
It should also be noted that when contact data is disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure must always be precisely distinguished, because this gives rise to various possibilities for permission.
Once agreements have been made between tenant and landlord, they should always be recorded in writing for evidentiary purposes. Simple information letters from the landlord about the blanket disclosure of contact data are insignificant in terms of data protection law. An active declaration of consent by the tenant is required.
In case of ambiguity in individual cases, professional advice is always recommended.