What The Real Estate Industry Needs To Know About California’s New Consumer Privacy Act

January 12, 2020 Off By administrator

On January 1,  the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect. It was a result of the California legislature’s action to provide additional protection to consumers and their personal information. The law is gaining attention not just in California but across the nation as other states take up the issue of personal privacy,  and businesses prepare to comply with the most wide reaching U.S. privacy law to date. 

Beyond regulation and legal obligation, we are living in a time of heightened sensitivity around the protection of personal information. At CES, the most high profile gathering of connected device manufacturers and enthusiasts, Kaya Yurieff, a reporter with CNN Business stated “The hottest product at CES 2020 is privacy.”  The property industry has always been a steward of a lot of private information but with the explosion of data collection and data analysis technology, real estate companies now need to take on much more responsibility when it comes to data privacy.

The CCPA applies not just to real estate but across other industries as well. The California law applies to any for-profit business that collects personal information while conducting business in California and meets or exceeds specific activity levels. These include annual gross revenue of $25,000,000 or higher, buying, receiving,  selling or sharing for commercial purposes (alone or in combination) the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices annually; or (iii) a for-profit business that gains 50% or more in annual revenue from selling the data of California residents. This applies to property owners and managers, security companies, retail stores and more. It means your organization does not have to be physically located in California to be impacted by the CCPA. The CCPA also outlines some twelve-month look-back periods, particularly around disclosures for use of personal information.  

There are some cues on enforcement that can be taken from what has occurred in Europe since the passage of The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Cases finalized under GDPR definitively show that privacy is viewed as a serious matter that regulators will enforce. Relevant governing bodies have issued over $400 billion in fines for GDPR failures so far. 

The real estate industry needs to take action to ensure compliance. Balanced against this new law are increasing consumer demands which drive the real estate market. Consumers are demanding a single, often mobile, experience in all aspects of their lives. This includes both where they live and where they work. Many organizations, particularly residential real estate organizations, now have a wide range of  data points on their residents used to provide and enhance the services in the manner residents have shown a preference for. 

For example, real estate owners, service providers and property management firms are offering smart home technology in residential units, which can…

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