Privacy Commissioner Revised Guidance on Property Management Practices
1. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (the Commissioner) Mr. Allan Chiang published today (2 September) a revised “Guidance on Property Management Practices” (“the Guidance Note”) which provides practical guidance on compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (“the Ordinance”) in the work context of property management.
2. Property management professionals should find the Guidance Note useful as it covers real work situations commonly encountered by them involving data protection compliance issues, namely,
- application of building entry passes or smart cards,
- recording of names and identity card numbers of visitors,
- recording of individuals’ images through CCTV for security purpose,
- recording of personal data of car park users,
- collecting personal data in proxy forms for attending owners’ meetings,
- disclosure of personal data in the minutes of meetings or notices to residents relating to building management affairs, and
- handling of complaints from owners or other individuals.
3. Mr. Chiang said, “Respecting and protecting residents’ personal data privacy is one of the essential factors enabling property management bodies to win the residents’ trust and support. In recent years, my office has handled an increasing number of complaints in relation to property management activities. In 2010-11, there was a total of 116 cases. While the Guidance Note provides practical advice to the property management staff, it should also serve as useful reference materials to owners’ committees, mutual aid committees, as well as individual flat owners, tenants and visitors as it offers a basic understanding of their privacy rights and obligations.”
4. As a revised Guidance Note, it has been updated to take into account recent developments in the application of the Ordinance, including (i) a decision made by the Administrative Appeals Board on the public display of notices which contain personal data in relation to building management (Note); and (ii) new provisions in the Building Management Ordinance as regards display of notices containing particulars of the legal proceedings to which the owners’ corporation is a party.
5. To assist property management bodies to better understand the Guidance Note, the PCPD will organize a professional compliance workshop on 9 November 2011. Participants will work through the Guidance Note, relevant Administrative Appeals Board’s decisions and practical scenarios with expert guidance from PCPD’s experienced trainer. Interested parties may access the PCPD’s website (http://www.pcpd.org.hk/english/activities/workshop.html
) for further information.
6. The revised Guidance Note is available for download from the website of the PCPD (http://www.pcpd.org.hk/english/publications/files/property_e.pdf
). Copies are also available from the PCPD at 12/F., 248 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, and at the public enquiry centres of District Offices.(Note) In Administrative Appeal No.10 of 2006, the posting of an open letter addressed to the complainant inviting her to attend an owners’ meeting to discuss two pending litigations between the owners’ corporation and the complainant was ruled by the Administrative Appeals Board to be unnecessary since the letter was also delivered to the mailbox of the complainant. The display in public of the complainant’s personal data in the letter was unnecessary for the purpose (as purported by the owners’ corporation) of inviting other owners to attend the owners’ meeting, thus contravening Data Protection Principle 3 of the Ordinance.