How the NYC Tenant Data Privacy Act Affects Apartment Building Owners

Dealing with Tenants’ Privacy Rights

The NYC Council passed the Tenant Data Privacy Act at the end of June 2021. What does this mean for landlords?

Smart access in modern buildings

The new tenant data privacy law applies to buildings that use smart access technology for entry. A smart access system employs electronic technology and collects data on renters that enables them to enter the building. While this makes buildings more secure, it also can put renters at risk if their data becomes compromised.

What types of data do smart access technology systems gather?

NYC smart access systems for multi-family dwellings use a variety of access methods that rely on data for entry. Methods may include:

  • Radio frequency identification card
  • Mobile phone application
  • Biometric identifier (fingerprints, voice recognition, facial recognition, retina scan, etc.)
  • Key fobs
  • Other digital technology

There are two types of data involved—authentication data and reference data. Landlords use reference data to confirm the authentication data.

What tenant data privacy obligations do landlords have?

The law provides numerous stipulations. Some of the main requirements that the new law demands of landlords include the following:

  • Giving tenants a privacy notice that explains the policy in plain language
  • Acquiring consent for smart access systems use
  • Keeping collected data secure
  • Not selling or sharing data collected with outside parties for profit
  • Disclosing to renters the entities or third parties that landlords allow to have the data and their privacy policies

The law limits the information that landlords may collect to the following:

  • Tenant’s name
  • Apartment number and tenant’s access to amenities
  • Preferred contact method
  • Biometric information used by the smart access system
  • ID and passcodes information used to gain entry
  • Lease information
  • For security purposes only—time and method of building access

Do you have concerns or questions about your privacy rights obligations as a landlord?

Consult with an experienced employment law defense attorney who can address your concerns and answer your questions. Call (718) 275-6500 to arrange an appointment with Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C.

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