Housing Options

How the council's housing service uses your personal data to assist you if you are homeless, threatened with homelessness or in need of housing assistance

Purpose for processing

North Devon Council’s housing service assesses your housing situation, provides advice, information and support if you are homeless, threatened with homelessness or need housing assistance to access housing related support services. Support services could include emergency or temporary accommodation, private rented, supported housing, financial support or any other housing type or related support service.

We collect and process your personal information to provide these services to you. This will include:

  • Assessing your housing eligibility and needs and agreeing the advice or support you need
  • Managing your tenancy or temporary accommodation
  • Assessing, maintaining and updating your homelessness application or application to a housing related support service
  • Allocating you or referring you to accommodation
  • Referring you to housing related support services
  • Compiling reports to assess demand for housing services

The lawful bases we rely on to process your personal data are:

  • Article 6(1)(c) of the GDPR which allows us to process personal data when this is necessary to comply with the law; and
  • Article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR which allows us to process personal data when this is necessary to perform our public tasks as a local authority

We do this pursuant to our statutory duties and public law functions as a local housing authority under the Housing Act 1996 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (among other laws such as the Housing Acts 1985, 1988 and 2004).

We may collect special category data about you where this is relevant to the provision of the above housing services, such as health, religious, ethnic information or criminal offence information. The lawful bases we rely on to process this information is:

  • Article 9(2)(b) of the GDPR – that the processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of both us as local housing authority and you as our customer in the field of social protection law which, the Data Protection Act 2018 has confirmed, includes interventions from public or private bodies intended to relieve households and individuals of the burden of a defined sets of risks or needs which includes housing
  • Article 9(2)(g)of the GDPR – which also relates to our public task as a local housing authority and the safeguarding of your fundamental rights. In addition Schedule 1 part 2(6) of the Data Protection Act 2018 which relates to statutory and government purposes

It may be that in certain emergency situations we may rely on Article 6(1)(d) of the GDPR where the processing of your personal data is necessary to protect someone’s life.

What we need

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 (eg. from social workers and health professionals, doctors and occupational therapists) as well as information based on our interactions with you. For example:

  • 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; and
  • we record information to assist us in delivering housing management services including reports of antisocial behaviour; complaints; change in circumstances

We will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services in accordance with the law (including the Housing Act 1996, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and other legislation). You have the right to object to the processing of your personal information if you think that we are processing this beyond our legal obligations or public task as a local housing authority (see “What are your rights?” below).

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.

What we do with it

Personal information which you supply to us and information about other household members (when you provide information about household members we assume that you do so with their full knowledge and consent) 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; and
  • to allow nomination to another housing organisation

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.

Sharing information with third parties could help us to deal with your claim more quickly. Where necessary or required, we may share your personal information as follows (this list is not exhaustive as there are other circumstances where we may also be required to share information eg. in order to meet our legal obligations):

  • With other departments at the Council, including Housing Benefit and Council Tax
  • With our contractors, in order to undertake repairs, maintenance, compliance or improvement works
  • With landlords, lenders, 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 (Encompass South West Ltd, Freedom Social Projects Ltd, Sanctuary Supported Living, Alabare, representatives at 18+ Hub meetings)
  • With utility companies (and their representatives) and other departments at the Council including Council Tax and Housing Benefit teams, to cross reference information, 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 (eg. Devon County Council, including social services) and government departments, as necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions
  • With police and other relevant authorities (eg. Probation Service, Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenues and 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, eg. social services and health authorities (eg. your GP, NHS Devon, the Devon Partnership NHS Trust), as necessary for exercising statutory functions
  • With individuals or external agencies who provide services in connection with your housing application including your family/friends, the Citizens Advice Bureau/your solicitor

We will only share your information with internal departments and organisations that we are contracted with or who we need to share information with in accordance with our public function as local housing authority which would include where we consider that there is a risk to you or others. If you don’t want information that identifies you to be shared with an external organisation we will try to respect that. However, it is not always possible to comply with such requests so we’ll contact you to discuss this. There may be certain circumstances where we would need to share your information for example; where we are required to do so by law, for safeguarding purposes or in risk of harm or emergency situations.

Where you are acting on behalf of someone else we’ll ask for information to satisfy us of your identity and, if relevant, ask for information to show you have authority to act on someone else’s behalf.

How long we keep it

For information about how long we hold personal data, see our Retention Schedule.

What are your rights?

For more information on your rights see Your Rights.