Housing Services privacy notice

We understand that your privacy is important to you. The council’s main privacy notice explains how the council (as a data controller) collects, uses and protects personal data generally. 

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when the council collects personal information in relation to your use of its Housing Services.

Why we collect your personal information

Harlow Council is a provider of social housing and therefore needs to collect certain information about you and your household to carry out this service and other activities associated with managing its housing functions and to comply with its statutory responsibilities.    

We will collect information from you in line with Article 6(1) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation for the following purposes:

  • to allow us to manage your housing, tenancy or lease and rent account as your landlord (including garages) and to communicate with you in this regard
  • the assessment, allocation and management of housing stock
  • to provide advice and assistance, and allocate housing to those threatened with homelessness
  • to provide our Supported Housing service
  • property and grounds maintenance and repairs
  • property adaptations
  • selling of properties under the Right to Buy scheme
  • resident engagement
  • mutual exchange

The consequence of you failing to provide your personal information is that we may not be able to comply with our statutory duties or provide necessary services.

What personal information we collect

To enable us to carry out our duties in line with the purposes detailed above, it is necessary for us to collect personal information from you. The categories of personal information we may collect includes:

  • your name
  • address
  • National Insurance number
  • contact details
  • details of members of your household
  • details of any persons authorised to act on your behalf and your banking details (if you pay your rent by Direct Debit)
  • photo ID (or we may take your photo) for fraud prevention purposes

In certain circumstances, we may also be required to collect more sensitive information to allow us to properly carry out our duties. This may include information regarding:

  • your health, including any disabilities or vulnerabilities - where this information is necessary to enable us to better meet your specific needs
  • financial information, including details of benefits received by you - to enable us to work with you in resolving money management issues, including rent arrears

Other relevant personal information may also be required on a case by case basis to enable us to investigate and manage breaches of tenancy, alleged antisocial behaviour or potential fraud.

Who we will share your personal information with

Sometimes we need to share personal information we hold about you with other organisations or agencies that we work with or who help us deliver our services to you. We may use your personal data when enforcing legal claims or rights, where and when we have an obligation to do so.  As an example, we may share your information in order to prevent and investigate crime. If we are sharing your information for any purpose, we will ensure that a valid data sharing agreement is in place with the data processor.

Where the information is of a sensitive nature, for example about your health, we will generally obtain consent from you prior to sharing this information, unless we are required, or permitted, to share this by law.

Those that we may share your information with include:

  • other Harlow Council services
  • HTS (Property and Environment) Ltd and other external contractors
  • social services and the NHS
  • law enforcement agencies and emergency services
  • health providers, independent medical advisors, GPs and housing support and care providers
  • public sector agencies (e.g. Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC, other local authorities and private sector companies such as credit reference agencies)
  • partner and multi-agency organisations
  • bodies working to prevent fraud and supporting national fraud initiatives
  • registered social landlords
  • third parties providing services on our behalf (e.g a research company carrying out a customer satisfaction survey, providers of emergency alarm call handling or a debt collection agency pursuing debt owed to the council)

How long we keep your personal information

All personal information will be held securely and will only be retained for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which it was provided in line with the council’s retention policy. Where we do not need to continue to hold your information it will be securely destroyed.

How we collect your personal information

Personal information originates mainly from you as the customer, but can be provided by other sources on an individual basis including, but not limited to:

  • other Harlow Council services
  • local authority social services
  • law enforcement agencies and emergency services
  • health providers
  • public sector agencies (e.g. Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, other local authorities and private sector companies such as credit reference agencies)
  • partner and multi-agency organisations
  • bodies working to prevent fraud and supporting national fraud initiatives
  • registered social landlords

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated in October 2023.

How to contact us

If you want to request information about our privacy policy, please email the council’s Housing Service at contact@harlow.gov.uk, or write to us at:

Housing Services

Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
Harlow, Essex
CM20 1WG

The council's Data Protection Officer can be contacted at the same address or by email at data.protection@harlow.gov.uk.

Your rights

For more information on how we collect, use and protect personal information generally, details of the council’s Data Protection Officer and the council’s role as a data controller, as well as your rights as a data subject, read our main privacy notice