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Housing Services Privacy Notice

Who we are

We are a local housing authority managing and maintaining all council owned properties in the borough of Ashford. We need to collect your personal information to administer our housing (landlord & tenant) services. Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is the Data Controller for the personal data we hold as set out in this notice. ABC and its data protection officer can be contacted at: The Data Protection Officer, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford TN23 1PL or email FOI@ashford.gov.uk.

We are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office with registration number Z8344724.

Your personal data

Personal data related to a living individual who can be identified from that data. Identification can be by the data alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller's possession or likely to come into such possession.

Some personal data is classed as "special categories of personal data" because it is data that is considered to be more sensitive and therefore requires more protection. This data is only processed for reasons of substantial public interest where this helps to meet our broader social obligations such as where it is necessary for us to fulfil our legal obligations and regulatory requirements.

The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR") 2016 and related implementation legislation, and the regional supervisory authority is the Information Commissioner's Office.

Most of the personal information we hold about you is provided by you. The information collected and held will vary and depend on the nature of the service. If you choose not to provide us with the information we ask for, in many cases, we will not be able to provide you with the service.

Purpose of processing

We may process your personal data for the following purposes:

  • fixed term tenancies
  • introductory tenancies
  • secure tenancies
  • choice based lettings
  • homebuy application(s)
  • housing fraud
  • specialist accommodation in housing schemes
  • key workers
  • downsize for cash application(s)
  • appeals against banding
  • succession applications
  • caravan sites' licensing
  • removal of abandoned vehicles on council land
  • dealing with arrears
  • debt counselling
  • enforcement of tenancy conditions through court proceedings
  • repairs and maintenance
  • special needs referrals
  • estate management and caretaking
  • right to buys
  • tenants' right to management audit
  • record of payment of rent (excluding bank/credit card details)
  • flexible tenancies
  • joint tenancies
  • tenancy transfers
  • leases
  • adaptations for elderly and disabled tenants
  • housing offers
  • housing register
  • mutual exchange application(s)
  • review(s) of suitability of accommodation
  • private leasing scheme
  • floating support referrals
  • community centre bookings
  • rent collection
  • discretionary payments
  • tenant participation, including involvement in monitoring and review of service standards
  • community protection notices
  • managing lettings
  • voids and under-occupation
  • complaints
  • waiting lists (banding system)
  • agreements for estate management schemes
  • call recording
  • general correspondence between you and us on matters related to our housing services

Lawful basis

We will only process your data if we have a lawful basis to do so as spelt out under article 6 of the GDPR. These will include:

  • our legal obligation(s) under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Local Government Act 1974
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Children Act 2004
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Care Act 2014
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014
  • our legal obligation(s) under the Digital Economy Act 2017
  • where necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us in accordance with the legislation referred to above and under the:
    • Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002
    • Housing Act 1985
    • Housing Act 1996
    • Land Compensation Act 1973
    • Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
    • Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978
    • Secure Tenants of Local Housing Authorities (Right to Repair) Regulations 1994

Data sharing

Your information may be shared with and/or obtained from:

  • electoral registration officer
  • courts/tribunals
  • external service providers
  • Kent Fire & Rescue Service
  • local authorities
  • Border Force
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • providers of contracted service for floating support referrals
  • elected councillors and/or Member of Parliament
  • our designated person (housing ombudsman related complaints)
  • Age Concern
  • SAFFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association)
  • impact team (NHS)
  • Occupational Therapist (NHS)
  • home support cleaners (self-funders)
  • lettings agents
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Probation Service
  • health services 
  • secure training units
  • friends and relatives you and your household may have been living with
  • Experian, rental exchange
  • ombudsmen
  • housing associations
  • HMRC
  • Homebuy agent for Kent
  • bailiffs
  • Kent County Council (safeguarding)
  • Prison Service
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
  • your nominated friend, relative or advocacy worker
  • North West Kent Volunteer Centre
  • Appetito
  • district nurses
  • mental health team (NHS)
  • self-funding care agencies
  • private sector landlords
  • mortgage lending companies
  • Ministry of Defence
  • youth offending services
  • employers
  • Citizen's Advice Bureau
  • voluntary sector organisations

We may check your housing record against other records held by us such as housing benefits and the Electoral Register to aid with the detection of housing fraud and with law enforcement agencies such as the police to aid with the detection and prevention of criminal acts and with our agents during the course of debt collection.

We are signatories to the Kent and Medway Information Sharing Agreement, which provides the framework for sharing personal data between local public sector agencies, where there is a specified explicit and legitimate purposes to do so. 

Experian Rental Exchange

We share your tenancy details and rent payment history with a company called Experian to help you confirm your identity, proving to organisations that you are who you say you are.

This gives you the credit you deserve for paying your rent on time and in the same way as mortgage payments would if you were a homeowner and improves your credit report. It creates an online history of your rental payments to prove to companies that you are a reliable potential customer.

A good credit profile will make it easier for you to open or change bank accounts, shop online, get better mobile phone rates, get better gas and electricity rates, or get a better credit card deal.

This arrangement also helps us as your landlord to build a clearer view of your financial well-being, to identify customers who may be in financial stress or are at risk of falling behind on payments in the future.

Not only will we be able to work with you more closely to manage your existing tenancy agreement, your track record as a tenant will enable Experian to use the information supplied to them to assist other landlords and organisation to:

  • assess and manage any new tenancy agreements you may enter into;
  • assess your financial standing to provide you with suitable products and services;
  • manage any accounts that you may already hold, for example reviewing suitable products or adjusting your product in light of your current circumstances;
  • contact you in relation to any accounts you may have and recovering debts that you may owe;
  • verifying your identity, age and address, to help other organisations make decisions about the services they offer;
  • help to prevent crime, fraud and money laundering;
  • screen marketing offers to make sure they are appropriate to your circumstances;
  • for Experian to undertake statistical analysis, analytics and profiling and for Experian to conduct system and product testing and database processing activities, such as data loading, data matching and data linkage

If you would like to see more information on these, and to understand how the credit reference agencies each use and share rental data as bureau data (including the legitimate interests each pursues) this information is provided on the Experian website (Credit Reference Agency Information Notice (CRAIN)).

Building Research Establishment Limited

Under the Housing Act 2004 as a local housing authority we are required to monitor the condition of the housing stock in our area with a view to identify any actions that may need to be taken. 

We have contracted Building Research Establishment Limited (BRE) to model specifically the private rented sector in the borough. BRE use statistical methods to provide modelled data estimating dwelling condition, energy efficiency and household characteristics at dwelling and householder level, based on data held by the council, the English Housing Survey and other commercially sourced data sets. This allows for informed policy decisions.

Further information is available via BRE’s privacy notice.

Kent County Council and Districts Financial Exclusion and Homelessness project with Xantura

We believe the data we and other partner local authorities hold, when used appropriately, is a key tool in identifying those most at risk of presenting in the near future as homeless or in financial crisis.

To this end we are collaborating with Kent County Council (KCC) and Xantura to support us, so that our limited resources are focused on appropriate preventative initiatives at points of the debt management and housing pathways that are most effective.

Xantura’s OneView solution, a data sharing platform, facilitating controlled, auditable sharing between our council services and that of KCC’s, creates a ‘single-view’ of a household from data sources held across the two authorities, aiding with the identification of those households at the highest risk of homelessness or presenting with other financial hardships in the future.

The data sets held within our Housing and Revenues and Benefits services, as collected during the normal course of the business will, for the exclusive purpose of this exercise, be shared with (KCC) through the Xantura platform.

Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council will be Joint Data Controllers and Xantura will be the Data Processor. Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller, in this case to aid with our obligations spelt out within the Homelessness Reduction Act and Digital Economy Act.

Further information is available from Kent County Council's Xantura privacy notice.

Data processor

You provide some of your personal information through the Kent Home Choice database hosted by Locata Housing Services. We use a number of external service providers to deliver our services. These companies are data processors for us and only process personal information in line with our instructions.

Retention period

We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements.

To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of your personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.

In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal data so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further notice to you. We will train and securely destroy your personal data in accordance with our data retention policy and applicable laws and regulations.

How we protect your data

The data you provide is protected by rigorous measures and procedures to make sure it can't be seen, accessed or disclosed to anyone who shouldn't be allowed to see it.

We provide training to staff who handle personal data and treat it as a disciplinary matter if they misuse or do not look after your personal data properly.

We conduct data protection impact assessments when making changes to processes or systems that hold your personal data.

We regularly review and assess the technical and organisational security measures in place around our systems and that of our suppliers. 

We will investigate data incidents where we have found that your personal data may have or has been disclosed inappropriately (data breach) and attempt to recover any data lost. If any breach is likely to result in a risk to your rights or freedoms we will inform the ICO within 72 hours and should such breach result in a high risk to these freedoms we will contact you without undue delay.

You have the right to

Unless subject to an exemption under the GDPR, you have the right to:

  • be informed about how your personal data is being used
  • access your data and supplementary information
  • update your data if your information needs to be corrected or updated
  • request erasure of your personal data
  • restrict processing of your personal data
  • object to the processing of your data

If you would like to exercise any of your rights, please get in touch with our data protection officer.

How to contact us

You can contact us at the following address: The Data Protection Officer, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL or you can email FOI@ashford.gov.uk.

Right to complain

We set ourselves high standards when it comes to protecting your personal data. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive from you about our use of your personal data very seriously and request that you bring any issues to our attention.

Where you are communicating with us for the purpose of making a complaint, we will only use your personal data to handle, investigate and respond to the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide.

If, having exhausted the complaint process, you are not content that your request or review has been dealt with correctly, you can appeal to the ICO to investigate the matter further by writing to:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

Changes to this privacy notice

We review this privacy notice regularly and will place updates on our website.