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.

Purpose of processing personal data

Why do we need your information and how do we use it?

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 the information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request - SAR’.

Lawful basis for processing personal data

  • Legal Obligation

Section 159 of the Housing Act 1996|Section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996|Section 166 of the Housing Act 1996|Section 169 of the Housing Act 1996|Section 170 of the Housing Act 1996|Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move) (England) Regulations 2015/967

  • Public Task
  • Using your personal information

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
  • to facilitate the storage, removal and transportation of belongings

* 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.

Information we hold about you and how we use it

  • 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.
  • we may conduct video meetings where necessary.  During these meetings, we may take screen captures of you for ID verification purposes.  Video meetings may, from time to time, be recorded with your consent, for instance, if either you or the member of staff has a disability and later playback would constitute a reasonable adjustment or where we are training new staff by having them sit in on a call without actually having to be on the call.   Where a recording is taken you will be notified in advance.

Generally, the information we hold will have been provided by you (on the 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 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.

How long we keep your information

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 the retention of records i.e. the current year + 6 years.