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Would listing apartment numbers of non-fee-paying residents comply with GDPR?

In a previous Property Clinic, you noted it is problematic to ‘name and shame’ property owners in arrears on management fees

In response to a recent query, you noted that it is problematic to “name and shame” those property owners in multi-unit developments in arrears on management fees, due to GDPR. As an alternative, would it be possible to list the numbers of apartments? This could get over the GDPR issue, as no personal details are being put into the public domain and, while not everyone would know who lived in the relevant apartments, their neighbours would.

You might need to get legal advice in relation to the specific circumstances involved but my instinct would be that this would not be permitted either.

The reason is that anyone is entitled to ask a company for its register of members. This is a statutory register required for all companies that lists its past and present members. In the case of an owners’ management company (OMC), it lists the property owners. It is normally held at the OMC’s registered office and maintained by the company secretary. The register contains various pieces of information about each member, including their name and address.

It would be straightforward to cross-reference between the register of members and a list of apartments circulated by an OMC showing those apartments in arrears in relation to their service charges. As such, it is likely the alternative approach you suggest would also fall foul of GDPR.


Note also that some properties in arrears may be rented out. As such, while the aim is to “name and shame” the offending owners, publishing apartment numbers could lead to comments being made to blameless tenants. As well as “shaming” the wrong targets, this could also annoy the landlords and make it harder to recover the charges.

As per the previous answer, the frustration of property owners in multi-unit developments as regards people not paying their management fees is widespread. However, for now, the best course of action may be to have good general policies on service charge collection, applied rigorously, and hopefully supplemented by much-needed law reform in the not-too-distant future.

Finbar McDonnell is a chartered property manager and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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