Housing privacy notice

Online council services

Who we are and what we do

The Housing Department at Waltham Forest Council is responsible for letting, managing and maintaining the Council’s housing stock including services to Council tenants, leaseholders, sheltered housing and temporary accommodation residents. We undertake day to day repairs, compliance activity and planned maintenance programmes. The service also delivers new accommodation either directly or via partners including Housing Associations and wholly owned trading companies. We also manage the provision of housing advice and assistance to residents and the statutory homelessness service. We collect and recover income for the Council’s housing stock, including tenants and leaseholders and for households in temporary accommodation.

The processing of this information is necessary for compliance with legal obligations primarily under the Housing Acts 1985, 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System Regulations 2005.

We take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to administer your Housing account and to provide services you have requested from us or that we need to provide/enforce. We follow the principles of Data Protection legislation, as well as respecting people’s rights to confidentiality and privacy. Personal data can include information supplied to us such as:

  • asking people to fill in their names, addresses and health information on an official form, either online or in paper form;
  • recording and retaining the calls customers make to a call centre.

We share your information with other London Borough of Waltham Forest departments and third party/service delivery partners who deliver services on our behalf.

The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request'

Personal information which you supply to us and information about other household members* may be used in a number of ways, for example:

  • to make housing decisions
  • for fraud prevention
  • for audit and debt collection
  • for statistical analysis
  • to arrange access for repairs and servicing
  • to ensure ourselves and our contractors are aware of any vulnerability
  • to complete regulatory and statutory returns to government departments
  • nomination to another housing organisation

* When you provide information about household members we assume that you do so with their full knowledge and consent.

We may share your information with, and obtain information about you from, central government agencies, credit reference agencies or fraud prevention agencies. Information provided by you may be put onto a housing register and shared with other organisations to prevent fraudulent claims. We routinely share information with other local authorities, in safeguarding cases and as part of multi-agency meetings. We will not disclose any other information, unless required to do so by law.

  • we keep financial records about the amount of money you have paid us, any amounts outstanding and action taken to recover money you owe.
  • we hold names and dates of birth, photographic ID and information about your previous housing circumstances to assess housing applications and help prevent tenancy fraud and illegal subletting.
  • we hold contact details for you so we can communicate with you, and to keep you informed about other services we offer which may be useful to you.
  • we record information about your needs and requirements to ensure our services are accessible; that we take account of any support needs in our dealings with you; and to improve our communications with you.
  • we record information to assist us in delivering housing management services including reports of antisocial behaviour; complaints; change in circumstances.
  • we may hold recordings of your telephone calls to us, as some calls to our contact centre are recorded for training and monitoring purposes so we can ensure we’re delivering a good service. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased.
  • we may capture your image on our CCTV systems if you visit an estate, office or community facility which is covered by this facility. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased. This data may be shared with the Police in relation to the prevention or detection of crime or fraud.
  • we may carry out market research and customer satisfaction surveys to help us to monitor our performance and to improve our services to our customers.

Generally the information we hold will have been provided by you (on application or enquiry forms or when we communicate with you), but we may also hold information provided by third parties where this is relevant to your housing circumstances (e.g. from social workers and health professionals, doctors and occupational therapists) as well as information based on our interactions with you..

We will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. In accordance with the Housing Act 1985, 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. In some cases, you can refuse to provide your details if you deem a request to be inappropriate. However, you should note that this may impact on our ability to provide some services to you.

We are committed to keeping your personal details up to date, and we encourage you to inform us about any changes needed to ensure your details are accurate. To help us to ensure confidentiality of your personal information we will ask you security questions to confirm your identity when you call us and as may be necessary when we call you.

We will only hold your records during the period of our relationship with you and for a set period afterwards to allow us to meet our legal obligations including resolving any follow up issues between us (for example if you live in one of our properties we will hold information about you for the duration of your tenancy). If you move and are no longer a resident we will usually keep records about you for up to 6 years or where you are a leaseholder who sells, we will keep a record of this sale indefinitely. The Information Asset Register lists the Limitations Act 1980 {Section 2} which provides timescales for retention of records i.e. the current year + 6 years.

Sharing information with third parties could help us to deal with your claim more quickly. When sharing information we will comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act. Where necessary or required, we may share your personal information as follows:

  • with our contractors, in order to undertake repairs, maintenance, compliance or improvement works
  • with third party service providers, in connection with services performed on our behalf. For example, if we use a research company to carry out a resident satisfaction survey or if we use a mailing house to distribute our newsletters.
  • our relationships with such providers are governed by our contracts with them which include strict data sharing and confidentiality protocols.
  • with landlords, housing associations and trusts, in connection with tenancy references and other enquiries.
  • with community partners in connection with the delivery of co-ordinated local services.
  • with utility companies (and their representatives) and Council Tax Offices, to ensure billing details are correct and to collect payment.
  • with credit reference agencies and debt collection agencies, in connection with some housing applications and in relation to any outstanding charges.
  • with local authorities and government departments, as necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions.
  • with police and other relevant authorities (e.g. Probation Service, Department of Work & Pensions, HM Revenues & Customs) in relation to the prevention or detection of crime and fraud; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders and the assessment or collection of tax or duty.
  • with other statutory organisations, e.g. social services and health authorities, as necessary for exercising statutory functions.
  • With external agencies who provide services in connection with your housing application for example NOW medical / East London Lettings Company / Home Connections/ Housing Partners.

This list is not exhaustive as there are other circumstances where we may also be required to share information e.g. in order to meet our legal obligations. We will use all information held by us for the purposes of law enforcement, regulation and licensing, criminal prosecutions and court proceedings.