This article will explain how a potential housing association data breach could occur. Due to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, any personal data you provide relating to your tenancy should be kept as secure as possible.
When you apply for housing or sign a tenancy agreement, you’ll need to provide lots of personal information. This is likely to include your name, contact details, banking details and information about previous tenancies. Legally, as this information can identify you, the housing association must try to ensure it’s not accessed unlawfully. Where data breaches do occur, could you claim compensation if they cause you to suffer financially or psychologically? We’ll explain this further during the course of this guide.
We are here to help if you do want to take action. To begin the claims process, we’ll review your case for free. You won’t be under any obligation to continue but we could help if your claim appears viable. If that’s the case, we’ll ask a data breach solicitor from our panel to take a look. If your claim is accepted, then you’ll benefit from a No Win No Fee service. In addition to data breach claims, our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors can help with personal injury claims, accident at work claims or public accidents amongst other things.
To begin your claim right away, why not call us on 0800 408 7825 today? To learn more about claiming for a potential housing association data breach before calling, please read on.
Select A Section
- Housing Association Data Breach Claims Explained
- What Are Housing Association Data Breaches?
- How Could Housing Association Data Be Breached?
- How Could I Be Compensated If Impacted By A Data Breach?
- What Settlement Could You Get For A Data Breach?
- Can You Claim For A Housing Association Data Breach On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Talk To Our Team About A Housing Association Data Breach Claim
- Help And Support
Housing Association Data Breach Claims Explained
Any personal data you provide to a housing association must be kept as securely as possible. For advice on how to protect such data, organisations can seek advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). However, where things go wrong, and the security of personal data is compromised, the ICO may choose to investigate. This could lead to enforcement action or a large financial penalty. Unfortunately, though, the ICO can’t award compensation to those affected by a data breach.
Therefore, we’ve created this guide on how you could claim for a housing association data breach. We’ll explain what types of mistakes could lead to a breach and what compensation you could be awarded. Importantly, claims can be based on:
- Psychological suffering (distress, anxiety, depression etc).
- Financial losses.
That said, what we have not mentioned yet is the fact that the onus is on the claimant to prove that those who should have been keeping their personal data safe had failed to take the necessary steps in securing this identifiable information in order for a claim to be valid.
To give you some idea of how frequently data security incidents occur, we’ve provided the chart below. It shows data security incidents in the land or property services sector that were reported to the ICO. The data covers reports made during the second quarter of the financial year 2021/22.
What Are Housing Association Data Breaches?
So, what are data breaches? Well, ICO defines them as security incidents that cause:
- Personal data to be disclosed, accessed, lost, changed or destroyed unlawfully or accidentally.
When referring to personal data, we mean information that an organisation holds that could help to identify you. As well as your name, address and phone number, information about your characteristics may be protected too. This could cover data about your age, religion, sexual orientation or marital status amongst other things.
You may be able to claim for a housing association data breach if it can be shown that:
- The housing association acted (or failed to act) in a way that allowed the breach to occur; and
- You suffered mental harm or financial losses as a result of the breach.
How Could Housing Association Data Be Breached?
In recent times, reported housing data breaches include:
- An incident where Watford Community Housing sent an email containing a spreadsheet containing personal data relating to 3,545 tenants.
Other ways in which data breaches could occur include:
- Where there is a failure to use the BCC field in a bulk email.
- If a personal letter is sent to the wrong email address.
- Where staff give out personal information to unauthorised parties.
- Where your data is exposed because of a stolen or lost device
- If personal data is read because a computer screen is visible in a public waiting area.
However, data breaches don’t need to be deliberate. You could claim if you’ve suffered because of an accidental data breach. If you believe you’re entitled to data breach compensation, why not call today to find out more.
How Could I Be Compensated If Impacted By A Data Breach?
Data breach claims usually consist of two main elements:
- Material damages. This covers any financial losses you’ve sustained e.g. you could claim for money that had been stolen out of your bank account because of identity fraud.
- Non-material damages. Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), embarrassment and anxiety caused by a breach could be considered here.
The time limits for data breach claims vary quite widely. In some cases, you may have a single year to take action. If others, you could have as long as 6-years to take action. We would therefore suggest you get in touch as soon as possible if you’re considering claiming. We’ll review your claim for free and let you know how long you’ve got left to begin your claim.
What Settlement Could You Get For A Data Breach?
To help understand how much compensation could be paid following a data breach, please look at the table below. It’s based on figures awarded in personal injury cases. That rule was established in the court case of Gulati & Others v MGN Limited .
Separately, at the Court of Appeal, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc , it was decided that you could claim for mental harm caused by a data breach even if the incident didn’t result in financial losses.
Examples of Judicial College Guidelines
|Type Of Claim||Category||Compensation Range||Extra Information|
|Mental Harm||(a) Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||It's possible that the claimant will be vulnerable because treatment might not help. They'll receive a very poor prognosis.|
|(c) Moderate||£5,500 to £17,900||While there will be some recovery, the claimant will have suffered significantly initially.|
|(d) Less Severe||To £5,500||To calculate compensaiton in this category, the amount of time daily activities like sleep were affected will be considered.|
|PTSD||(a) Severe||£56,180 to £94,470||Returning to work or functioning at levels seen prior to trauma are unlikely. It's possible that PTSD will affect the claimant permanently.|
|(b) Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180||The claimant will be significantly affected initially. However, with specialist support, it is possible that there will be a good level of recovery.|
|(c) Moderate||£7,680 to £21,730||Generally, claimants in this category will have largely recovered.|
Please bear in mind that each claim is unlike any other. Therefore, you should use these amounts as guidance for now. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will explain what amount you could claim once your case has been fully reviewed.
Can You Claim For A Housing Association Data Breach On A No Win No Fee Basis?
We understand that paying solicitors fees up front would be a massive gamble for many. That’s why we work with a panel of data breach lawyers that offer a No Win No Fee service. That means you’ll only need to pay for their work if you are compensated for your suffering.
After a free case review, your solicitor will send a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) if they agree to represent you. This contract will allow your solicitor to begin working on your case right away.
If compensation is awarded, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your settlement amount. This is an agreed percentage of your compensation as listed in the CFA. Legally, when using a CFA, success fees are capped at 25% of your award.
To check if you could fund a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis, please call a specialist today.
Talk To Our Team About A Housing Association Data Breach Claim
Hopefully, this article on claiming because of suffering caused by a data breach has helped. If you’d now like to talk to us about claiming, you can:
- Use live chat to connect with an online specialist.
- Call our advice line on 0800 408 7825.
- Use our contact page to request a callback.
Help And Support
Your Data Matters – ICO guidance on your data protection rights and how to keep your personal information safe.
Anxiety (NHS Inform) – Details on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of anxiety.
Credit Card Data Breach Claims – Guidance on claiming if your personal data is breached because of the failings of a credit card company.
Wrong Postal Address Claims – A guide on claiming if letters intended for you are posted to the wrong address.
Can Social Services Breach Data Protection? – This article looks at when action could be taken if personal information is not protected correctly by social services.
If you’ve suffered because of a housing association data breach, please call with any questions.