A recent announcement by the department of data protection in Cyprus regarding the display of arrears in building complexes common areas sheds light on the practice followed in Cyprus and more importantly it’s legality.
Immovable Property Law (Accession, Registration and Valuation) Law, Chapter 224
Section 45 of the Immovable Property Law requires the administration committee of a building complex to prepare statements of income and expenses and present them to the general meeting for approval.
Section 46 of the same law entitles every owner to have access to the said statements of income and expenses.
Access to information on arrears
From the above sections of the law it is clear that owners have the right to be informed and have access to the statements of income and expenses and more importantly which tenants accounts are in arrears.
Subject to this, the announcement goes on to clarify that the publication of the owner’s name and the apartment number is legal. Nevertheless, the publication of such information in a public area that none-owners and strangers may have access is not.
Location of display of arrears
Because most of the display of arrears are made in the central lobby of the building complex the information is disclosed to strangers and none owners. This means that the administrative committee is sharing sensitive information of the owners with the world at large.
The announcement goes on to clarify that such display of arrears along with the names and flat numbers should be done in a place within the building complex which is accessible exclusively by the owners/tenants but not freely accessible by third persons or casual visitors.
Digitize or be fined
Perhaps administrative committees need to consider using email or some other form of digital communication to ensure that they are not found to be in breach of the General Data Protection Law of Cyprus. No case to date has been considered however administrative committees which do not comply will soon be in the cross-hairs of Eirini Loizidou Nikolaou, Commissioner of Data Protection in Cyprus.
The announcement of the Commissioner of Data Protection may be found on the Data Protection Officers website