Can a landlord disclose the personal information listed on your rental application?

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Can a landlord disclose the personal information listed on your rental application?

I am an insurance agent recently applied for an office lease. The owner/property manager requested all my personal info along with 2 years tax and W2s. During the application process I receive a call from my competitor (another agent) stating that he learned that I am applying for an office lease in the same plaza and wanted to discuss with me my intentions because he is already leasing an office. Does the landlord have the right to disclose my info to another competitor? I am extremely disappointed my personal info was disclose without my consent. Isn’t there privacy law that protects me?

Asked on March 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What personal information was disclosed? If the landlord disclosed a social security number, income, a private or unlisted phone number, etc., then you may have a cause of action against the landlord, since that is the sort of private or personal information that a reasonable average person would not want disclosed.

But not all  information is private or personal. There is nothing inherently personal or private about the fact that you are in discussions for an office lease at a given location or with a given landlord. There is no cause of action for a landlord mentioning this to someone, unless there was some confidentiality or nondisclosure clause in your agreements or negotiations; if there was, then you may have a cause of action for breach of contract.


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