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Housing Options Privacy Notice

Who we are and what we do?

The Housing Needs Service is responsible providing advice and assistance on housing and homelessness issues and managing the housing register.  We also provide temporary accommodating and collect and recover income from those households.

Why we need your information and how we use it

The processing of your information is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation primarily under the Housing Act 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002, the Localism Act 2011 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to which we are subject. 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 take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to provide services you have requested from us. We follow the principles of Data Protection Act 2018, 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;

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

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

What type of information is collected from you

  • we hold names and dates of birth, photographic ID and information about your previous housing circumstances to assess housing applications and help prevent fraud.
  • we hold contact details for you so we can communicate with 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 keep financial records about the amount of money you have paid us, any amounts outstanding and action taken to recover money you owe

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).

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

Sharing information with third parties could help us to deal with your application or enquiry more quickly. When sharing information we will comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act 2018. Where necessary or required, we may share your personal information as follows:

  • with landlords, housing associations and trusts
  • with community partners in connection with the delivery of co-ordinated local services.
  • 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.

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.

Government Research

We are currently supporting the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) in their study on the causes of homelessness and how well homelessness services meet peoples’ needs. London Borough of Merton along with other Local Authorities will be providing MHCLG with anonymised data taken from homeless assessments. This information will only be used for research purposes and will not be used to make any decisions about what benefits of services you receive now or in the future.  To find out more details about how the information is used in the study, the MHCLG have provided further guidance.

How long we keep your information

We will only hold your records during the period of our relationship with you and for 7 years afterwards to allow us to meet our legal obligations including resolving any follow up issues between us. 

How you can access, update or correct your information

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

Find out more about how to make a Subject Access Request

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please email us at: housingadvice@merton.gov.uk , or write to us at:

Housing Needs Service
3rd Floor
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
SM4 5DX 

Business Intelligence, Profiling and Automated-Decision making

Please see the relevant section of the Corporate Privacy Notice.

Protecting your information

Please see the relevant section of the Corporate Privacy Notice.

Your information choice and rights

Please see the relevant section of the Corporate Privacy Notice.

Information Commissioner's Office

Please see the relevant section of the Corporate Privacy Notice.