Your privacy is important to us. We only collect the information we need from you and your household to provide you with our services. Our Privacy policy describes the categories of personal data we process and why.
Under the data protection legislation, including the Data Protection Act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we have to tell you why we collect information about you, how we plan to use it, if we’ll share it with anyone else and how long we’ll keep it for.

1. Introduction

2. About mhs homes

3. Your privacy rights

4. What kinds of personal identifiable information we use

5. Why we collect this information

6. How we gather your personal identifiable information

7. Capturing images

8. How we lawfully use your personal information

9. Automated decision making

10. Our legal basis for using your personal information

11. Sharing and getting back your personal identifiable information

12. Regulators and other legal obligations

13. International safeguards

14. Accuracy of your information

15. Make a complaint

16. Our Data Protection Officer

17. Having control of your personal information

18. Can we use your information for any other purpose?

19. Deleting your information

20. Your rights

21. Transfers outside of the UK

22. How long we keep your personal information for

23. Keeping you up to date

24. Direct marketing

25. Email marketing

26. Your online activities

27. Our legal requirements

28. Phishing

Equality statement

Data protection

Feedback

1. Introduction

1.1 We take your privacy seriously and you can find out more here about your privacy rights and how we collect, use, share and secure your personal identifiable information. This includes the personal identifiable information we already hold about you now and the further personal identifiable information we might collect about you, either from you or from a third party. How we use your personal identifiable information will depend on the products and services we provide to you

1.2 This Privacy Notice is a public document available to anyone. It explains how we and appointed third party organisations use your personal identifiable information and it details your rights.

1.3 See section three for more information about your rights and how our DPO can help you

1.4 Our Data Protection Officer (DPO) provides help and guidance to make sure we apply the law to the processing and protection of your personal identifiable information. If you have any questions about how we use your personal information, the Groups’ DPO can be contacted by email at data.protection@mhs.org.uk or by post at mhs homes, Broadside, Leviathan Way, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4LL

1.5 This Privacy Notice provides up to date information about how we use your personal information and replaces any previous information we have published/supplied about using your personal identifiable information. This Privacy Notice will change. It’ll always have a date published to make sure you have the most up to date versions

2. About mhs homes

2.1 We provide safe, secure affordable homes. We’re a charitable housing association operating in north Kent, owning and managing 9,000 homes. We employ more than 250 people. We’re unique in being the largest social landlord in the UK not registered with the social housing regulator and have two main subsidiaries - Heart of Medway Housing Association and mhs community charity.

2.2 Our registered address is:
Broadside
Leviathan Way
Chatham
Kent
ME4 4LL

mhs homes Ltd is a private company limited by guarantee. Our Company number is 10704997

2.3 mhs homes group is a group of companies; where we refer to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in this Privacy Notice, we are referring to all companies within the group

2.4 mhs homes Ltd is the 'data controller' of your personal identifiable information

ICO Notification Ref Regulated by
mhs homes Ltd Z629086 Charity Commission
Heart of Medway Housing Association ZA079387 Regulator of Social Housing
mhs community charity Z5296068 Charity Commission

3. Your privacy rights

3.1 As a data subject you have eight rights:

1. The right to be informed
2. The right of access
3. The right to rectification
4. The right to erasure
5. The right to restrict processing
6. The right to data portability
7. The right to object
8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

3.2 In brief, you have the right to be told about who’s obtaining and using your personal identifiable information, how it’ll be retained, shared and secured and what lawful grounds will be used to obtain and use your personal identifiable information. You have the right to object to how we use your personal identifiable information in certain circumstances. You also have the right to obtain a copy of the personal identifiable information we hold about you

3.3 In addition, you can ask us to correct inaccuracies, delete or restrict personal identifiable information or to ask for some of your personal identifiable information to be provided to someone else

3.4 You can make a complaint if you feel we’re using your personal identifiable information unlawfully and/or holding inaccurate, inadequate or irrelevant personal identifiable information which if used may have a negative impact on you and/or your rights. See section 15 on how to make a complaint

3.5 To make enquires for further information about exercising any of your rights in this Privacy Notice, please contact data.protection@mhs.org.uk or write to us

3. What kinds of personal identifiable information we use

4.1 We use a variety of personal identifiable information depending on the services we deliver to you

For all housing services, we need to use the following information about you and any occupant of your home:

Personal information

1. Contact details – name, address, email, home and mobile telephone numbers
2. Age – date of birth
3. Identification – information to allow us to check your identity
4. Credit history information
5. Online computer identification (IP address) – information recorded when you engage with us by email or through our website
6. National Insurance numbers – information to carry out functions such as universal credit and/or supporting people contracts
7. Next of kin

There are other types of personal information which we don’t collect for the occupants of your property unless they have a direct relationship with us (e.g. applied for housing in their own right or obtain services from us directly):

• Telephone contact details
• Photograph

Special information

Some personal information is considered sensitive in some circumstances we need to collect special catalogues of information in order to provide specific services to you.

As well as a lawful basis for collecting the following information about you, we will need to satisfy a specific condition.

Below are the conditions we may collect sensitive information from you depending on the services you wish to take from us:

• Health – to support our housing functions where specialist properties are required and providing certain services to vulnerable customers
• Race – to support our equality monitoring purposes
• Ethnic origin – to support our equality monitoring purposes
• Religion – to support our equality monitoring purposes
• Sexual life or sexual orientation – to support our equality monitoring purposes
• Convictions – to prevent and detect crime, fraud, anti-money laundering and to aid in the prosecution and rehabilitation of offenders
• Photographs - used for ID purposes

There are other types of special information which we don’t collect but are considered important under the law:

• Trade Union Membership
• Genetics

4.2 Sometimes where we ask for your personal identifiable information to enter into a contract/agreement with you (for example: tenancy agreement, lease, housing application, support plan) or to meet our legal or regulatory duties (for example: to process housing applications, council tax benefit, equality monitoring and/or government or housing regulator reports), we won’t be able to provide some of our housing, support or products or services without it.

4.3 Some of this information we’ll hold for the duration of your relationship with us. Some of the information will only be held for a specific amount of time and to deliver services at a point they’re required

5 Why we collect this information

5.1 We use your personal data in various areas of our work, including:
1. Management of homes
2. Collection of rents, other sums and receipt of benefits
3. Maintenance/repair of our homes
4. Regulatory purposes - e.g. requirements of the Regulator of Social Housing research
5. Legal proceedings
6. To meet health and safety requirements of our residents and staff
7. Prevention and reduction of crime including fraud
8. Equal opportunities monitoring
9. Research

5.2 Sensitive personal data is normally only held if you or someone authorised by you (e.g. a doctor or social worker, or someone living with you) has given us the data

5.3 We only ask for special categories of information where it’s necessary for the service and we’ll ask for your consent to do so

5.4 Where we’re using your information because you’ve provided your consent, you are entitled to withdraw your consent at any time. The lawfulness of our use of your information before consent was withdrawn isn’t affected

5.5 Typically, we hold and process such data regarding managing your housing arrangements to meet your needs. We also use anonymous information about our customers to identify which services we need to provide

6. How we gather your personal identifiable information

6.1 We obtain personal identifiable information by various means, this can be by face to face, by email, telephone, and correspondence and or by receiving this information from others, for example: a local elected member who’s representing you, police, health or social care agencies, benefit agencies. We can also receive information about you from other people who know you and/or are linked to you (for example: relative, person nominated to act on your behalf or your legal representative). Some further examples are below:

1. directly from you, for example: when you fill out an application, transfer or mutual exchange form or as part of your right to buy application

2. by observing how you use our housing, support, products and services, or those of other members of our Group for example: from the transactions and operation of your accounts and on-line services

3. from other organisations such as former housing and support providers, health and social care agencies, law enforcement agencies, debt collectors, energy or utility companies, benefit agencies and or credit reference and fraud prevention agencies

4. from other people who know you including joint account holders and people you are linked to you or live in the same community as you with regard to reports of anti-social behavior


5. from monitoring or recording calls as part of quality and complaints monitoring. We record these calls for training and to ensure the safety of our staff. We’ll not record any payment card details as part of our accounts and payments operations

6. from our CCTV systems for the prevention and detection of crime or to detect damage or vandalism to our properties and to ensure the safety and security of our staff and individuals obtaining services from us

7. Capturing images

7.1 Before any CCTV cameras are installed, a privacy impact assessment is conducted to ensure that their installation is justified, necessary and proportionate

7.2 We use CCTV cameras to manage the safety and security of staff and visitors to all corporate buildings and properties that we manage and own. Cameras are clearly marked with privacy notices explaining that cameras are in use. Further detail on how we manage cameras is available in our CCTV policy which can be requested by contacting us.

7.3 We may also capture and process images during events organised and hosted by mhs homes using film photography, digital photography, video or other medium and may be used on our websites, in brochures or other publicity material (such as internal and external newsletters and social media) and may be provided to the media for publication in local or national news publications. We’ll tell you when we’re undertaking recording of this nature and if you don’t want to be included, let a member of staff know.

7.4 We undertake to inform all those whose images may be recorded (or their parents/guardians if under 18 years of age) of the purposes for which the images may be used by us. We inform all persons taking part in our activities that they may be photographed, filmed, videoed or otherwise captured in image form. Where reasonable and practical to do so, we’ll seek written consent to capture images. Where this isn’t possible for practical reasons, unless express objections are received, individuals attending a mhs homes event are deemed to have given their consent by attending or remaining at the event. Any queries or complaints should be raised with the event host in the first instance.

7.5 mhs homes acknowledges its responsibilities in capturing images by photography or other means under the provisions of the following legislation:

1. The Protection of Children Act 1978 - We recognise that it’s a criminal offence to take, permit to be taken, distribute, have in one’s possession or publish indecent photographs (including films and other imagery) of children

2. The Human Rights Act 1998 - We recognise an individual’s rights to privacy as protected by this Act

8. How we lawfully use your personal information

8.1 In accordance with the data protection laws, we need a "legal basis" for collecting and using information about you. There are a variety of different legal basis for processing personal data which are set out in the data protection laws.

8.2 The lawful bases’ are:

1. You have provided consent to our use of your information
2. Using your information in this way is necessary for us to perform the contract between us and to take steps at the request of you prior to entering into the contract
3. It’s a requirement of regulatory or governing bodies
4. Internal record keeping
5. Improving service delivery
6. Answering your queries
7. Contacting you for related research and surveys

8.3 We may contact you by email, phone, or post unless you’ve registered with the appropriate preference service or requested that we don’t. To provide you with our housing services we have a legal duty to confirm a person(s) has the right to reside in the country. We’ll need to record your name, contact details, date of birth, your current and previous countries of residence/citizenship, and a copy of identification documents (such as passport, home office residence papers and driving licence)

8.4 We might also need health and social care information (such as physical, social or mental health information or medication) to help support our customers who have a vulnerability and/or receive a support or care service from us

8.5 We sometimes need to gather, use and share your personal identifiable information for particular reasons, which are set out in more detail below

8.6 What do we do with the information we collect?

1. It’ll be stored and used by us in accordance with this privacy statement and in accordance with your rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation

2. It’ll be provided to regulators or Government bodies for research and policy purposes

3. It’ll be collected and used by us fairly and openly for providing our services to you

4. It’ll allow us to provide services which are tailored to your needs

5. It’ll allow us to contact you in the most appropriate way

8.7 An understanding of your personal situation and individual needs will allow us to provide a tailored service that meets any physical, cultural or financial needs that you may have:

1. To operate and administer our housing and support services, including managing and responding to complaints we collect, use and share contact and occupation information with third parties who help us deliver our repairs, support and housing services. For example our repairs contractors and their appointed sub-contractors

2. We use your personal identifiable information in this way because it’s necessary to meet the conditions set out in the contract/agreement with you and/or to meet our legal or regulatory obligations

3. To administer payments to and from your accounts or other agencies (e.g. benefits agency)

4. Contact and occupation information with benefit agencies and financial advisors who as agencies or financial organisations help us to process payments to your account(s)

5. To supply our appointed financial advisors with information to carry out home ownership affordability tests to advise on the suitability of a mortgage

6. To prevent financial crime including money laundering, benefit fraud or illegal subletting

7. We use your personal identifiable information in this way because it’s necessary to meet the conditions set out in the contract/agreement with you and/or to meet our legal and regulatory obligations

8. To carry out our duties under health and safety and to support our vulnerable people

9. Vulnerability indicators with contractors and sub-contractors to ensure services are tailored to meet your needs

10. Concerned/warning/ be aware indicators with contractors and sub-contractors to ensure health and safety measures are in place. We would have informed you of this indicator and when it’ll be applied and for how long, for example: a warning marker may be applied for a tenant with a mobility restriction, to ensure sufficient time is given for the tenant to answer the door

11. We use your personal and special identifiable information in this way because it’s necessary to meet the conditions set out to meet our legal and regulatory obligations in relation to health and safety

12. To report or share information with agencies where you or another person is at risk of physical, mental or sexual harm or damage or where you or another person is in need of being protected as a vulnerable person from significant harm or serious exploitation

13. We use your personal and special identifiable information in this way because it’s necessary to meet our legal and regulatory obligations and to protect yours and others vital interests

14. To carry out our lettings and home ownership affordability assessments and former debt decisions about you

15. Information you give to us about your former addresses will be used to carry out a credit history check with approved suppliers (e.g. Experian). No credit ‘footprint’ will be left as part of this process

16. Information about those you’re linked with in the proposed agreement or contract with us, for example, a joint tenant or owner

17. Information about how you or the person linked to you has former debts owing to us or other landlords

18. For this purpose, we share and receive information with and from banks, building societies, credit reference and fraud prevention agencies. The credit or fraud prevention agency might add details of our search to the records they hold about you, whether or not your engagement with us proceeds. The use of your information is based on our legal obligations

19. To carry out market research and analysis to develop and improve our housing, support, care and products and services; provide to regulators or government agencies for research and policy purposes

9. Automated decision making

9.1 Sometimes we use your personal identifiable information in automated processes to make decisions about you, such as credit scoring. We might also use automated processes to create a profile of you. We do this to help ensure decisions are made accurately, fairly and efficiently and to offer you services tailored to you

9.2 Information about you to Experian as part of the ‘Rent Exchange Scheme’

9.3 You have the right to have a decision made about you through automated means reviewed by a real person. To request a review of an automated decision follow the instructions on the digital form or email data.protection@mhs.org.uk

10.1 We only use your personal identifiable information where it’s permitted by the laws that protect your privacy rights. This’ll be where:
1. We need to use the information to comply with our legal obligations

2. We need to use the information to perform a contract with you

3. It’s fair to use the personal identifiable information either in our interests or someone else's interests, where there’s no disadvantage to you – this can include where it’s in our interests to contact you about products or services, market to you, or collaborate with others to improve our services

4. Where we need to seek your consent (if consent’s needed)

Where we have your consent, you have the right to withdraw it. We’ll let you know how to do that at the time we gather your consent

10.2 Special protection is given to personal information that’s sensitive. This includes information about your health status, racial or ethnic origin, political views, religious or similar beliefs, sex life or sexual orientation, genetic or biometric identifiers, trade union membership or criminal convictions or allegations. We will only use this kind of personal information where:
1. We have a legal obligation to do so (for example to protect vulnerable people)

2. It’s necessary for us to do so to protect your vital interests (for example if you have a severe and immediate medical need whilst on our premises)

3. It’s in the substantial public interest

4. It’s necessary for the prevention or detection of crime

5. It’s necessary for insurance purposes

6. You have specifically given us ‘affirmative’ consent to use the information

11. Sharing and getting back your personal identifiable information

11.1 We share this information with:

11.2 Subsidiaries of the mhs homes Group

1. mhs homes is made up of several related companies. We’ll share your information with other members of the Group where necessary to best provide the services to you in accordance with the contract between us. An example of this could be when we wish to let you know about a service being offered by another company in the Group that could benefit your experience with us

2. The obligations which are set out in this notice shall apply to the other members of the Group to the same extent that they apply to us

3. When we share information about you within the Group, we’ll tell you it’s happening and the reasons why

4. We might share your personal information with companies who perform services on our behalf. They’ll only use this information to provide that service. We may also share it with other members of our corporate group, or a purchaser or potential purchaser of our business. If the situation occurs we may have to share your personal information without your consent if the law requires it, for example to government bodies or law enforcement agencies

5. Generally, only our staff have access to your personal information. However, in some cases we share it with our business partners, such as:
• Contractors and managing agents
• Local authorities
• Legal advisors
• Police and fire service
• Government departments
• Welfare advisors
• Medical professionals
• Other housing associations
• National Fraud Initiative credit agencies
• Surveying agencies (who only act on our behalf)

11.3 We always make sure the organisations we work with understand that the information must be used for the reasons we have specified and must be kept safe and secure

11.4 We’ll only share information about you which is relevant and necessary to address your individual needs. Our contractors and sub-contractors are contractually required to ensure that they securely collect and store your information as set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 or the General Data Protection Regulation (as applicable)

11.5 In any other instances your personal information will not be shared with any other third parties, unless your explicit consent has been granted for example your MP to respond to a complaint

11.6 Where we share information for these reasons we’ll tell you before the information is shared. The contractors acting on our behalf will also confirm to you that they are doing so when they contact you, so you know where your data came from

12.1 We may also be required to share your information with our regulators who are permitted access to this information by law. For example, to respond to a complaint that you’ve raised with them and with other organisations where we have a legal obligation to share the information with them

12.2 We also share your information with Government bodies for research and statistical purposes. The information helps provide the Government with a better understanding of the social housing market and help inform social housing policy. More information about how this data is used by the Government and why can be found in the Continuous Recording of Social Housing lettings and sales (CORE) notice

13. International safeguards

13.1 The information you provide us with will never be disclosed outside of the European Economic Area, unless there are appropriate safeguards in place, including contracts and requiring any third party to adhere to these

14. Accuracy of your information

14.1 We aim to keep our records up to date. However, if any of your personal details change (e.g. phone number, address), please let us know and we’ll update our records

15. Make a complaint

15.1 As with all our services, if you aren’t happy with the way we’ve used your data, you’re entitled to make a complaint

15.2 To do this, contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). You can find out how to contact the ICO at https://ico.org.uk, or write to them at:

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

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number

16. Our Data Protection Officer

16.1 Our Data Protection Officer (DPO) is responsible for overseeing what we do with your information and monitoring our compliance with data protection laws

16.2 If you have any concerns or questions about our use of your personal data, you can contact our DPO by writing to:

The Data Protection Officer
mhs homes
Broadside
Leviathan Way
Chatham
Kent
ME4 4LL

You can also get in contact by emailing us at data.protection@mhs.org.uk

17. Having control of your personal information

17.1 The Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulations are in place to protect your privacy. You have many rights under the legislation, one of which is that you can ask to see the information we hold on you by filling out a ‘Subject Access Request’

17.2 You can contact your DPO or write to the address below if you have a request or question:

Subject Access Request,
The Data Protection Officer
mhs homes
Broadside
Leviathan Way
Chatham
Kent

You can also email us with the subject heading ‘Subject Access Request’ to data.protection@mhs.org.uk

18. Can we use your information for any other purpose?

18.1 In limited circumstances we may use your information for a purpose other than those set out in this policy. If we intend to use it for another purpose, we’ll contact you before we do

19. Deleting your information

19.1 We’ll store the personal data for as long as you remain a service user. Once you stop using our service we’ll review your information and determine whether there are any reasons why we need to keep it. For example, if a service user is in arrears when they leave the property, it may be necessary to retain information about them to recover those arrears. Once the identified purpose comes to an end we’ll delete your information

20. Your rights

20.1 In relation to the information which we hold about you, you are entitled to:
1. Ask us for access to the information
2. Ask us to rectify the information where it is inaccurate or is incomplete
3. Ask us to erase the information and take steps to ask others who we have shared your information with to also erase it
4. Ask us to limit what we do with your information
5. Object to our use of your information and ask us to stop that use
6. Instruct us to provide you with the information we hold about you in a structured and commonly used format or transmit that information directly to another organisation (for example, if you want the information to be sent to another housing provider)
7. Our obligations to comply with the above rights are subject to certain exemptions

20.2 We’ll share personal information with the mhs homes Group and with others outside the Group where we need to do that to make products and services available to you, market products and services to you, meet or enforce a legal obligation or where it’s fair and reasonable for us to do so

20.3 See section three, ‘How we use your personal identifiable information’ for more information

20.4 Who we share your personal information with depends on the products and services we provide to you and the purposes for which we use your personal information. For most products and services we’ll share your personal information with our own service providers such as our IT Suppliers, with credit reference agencies and fraud prevention agencies. See section 3.6 ‘How we use your personal information’ for more information on who we share your personal information with and why

20.5 Most of the time the personal information we have about you is information you’ve given to us, or gathered by us in the course of providing products and services to you. We also sometimes gather personal information from and send personal information to third parties where necessary for credit checking and fraud prevention or marketing purposes, for example so you can receive the best offers from us and our partners. See section 3.6, ‘How we use your personal information’ for more information on who we get your personal information from and why.

21. Transfers outside of the UK

21.1 We may need to transfer your information outside the UK to companies, service providers, agents, subcontractors and regulatory authorities in countries where data protection laws may not provide the same level of protection as those in the European Economic Area, such as the USA

21.2 We’ll only transfer data to the USA that is protected by Privacy Shield

21.3 You can find out more information about standard contractual clauses as detailed by the ICO. Visit their website at ico.org.uk and search for ‘International transfers’

22. How long we keep your personal information for

22.1 This depends on the services we deliver to you. We’ll never retain your personal information for any longer than is necessary for the purposes for which we need to use it

23. Keeping you up to date

23.1 We’ll communicate with you about products and services we’re delivering using any contact details you have given us - for example by post, email, text message, social media, and notifications on our app or website

23.2 Where you’ve given us consent to receive marketing, you can withdraw consent, and update your marketing preferences by contacting us directly

24. Direct marketing

24.1 We’d like to provide you with updates about events, services and other information that we believe may be of interest to you in relation to the services we offer. We may send you such information by post or telephone unless you have registered with the appropriate Preference Service or have asked us not to do so

24.2 We don’t provide your personal information to other companies for their marketing purposes

24.3 If at any time you don’t want your information used for direct marketing purposes, please contact us by email

25. Email-marketing

25.1 We’d also like to provide you with some information by email. However, we appreciate that email 'spam' is a problem. If you’ve registered with us or have previously asked us for information on our services via email, we may use that email address to contact you. However, not all the information we’ll provide to you will necessarily be sent by email

25.2 You can change your preferences on receiving emails from us at any time by emailing us

26. Your online activities

26.1 We use cookies to track your use of our websites. We may use cookies to provide tailored marketing messages when you are logged into our website, if you’ve given us consent

26.2 Find out more about cookies by visiting our website

27.1 We’re committed to protecting your data. We’ll ensure your data is:

1. Fairly and lawfully processed
2. Processed for limited purposes
3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive
4. Accurate
5. Not kept longer than necessary
6. Processed in line with your rights
7. Safe and secure
8. Not transferred to countries without sufficient protection

27.2 For more information please see:

• Data Protection principles
• Data Protection Act

27.3 We’re committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we’ve put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect

27.4 Only relevant members of staff will access the information you provide to us

28. Phishing

28.1 'Phishing' is the name given to attempts to steal personal details and financial account details from a website user. 'Phishers' use fake or 'spoof' emails to lead users to imitation websites where the user is tricked into entering their personal details, such as credit card numbers, usernames and passwords. mhs homes will never send emails asking you for such details and our staff will never ask you for your password

28.2 If you do receive such an email or are asked for your password by anyone claiming to represent mhs homes, please forward the email or report the incident by emailing us at data.protection@mhs.org.uk

Equality statement

mhs homes has a duty to ensure that no one receives less favourable treatment from the organisation on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, religion or belief, race, sex or sexual orientation.

Data protection

mhs homes will only share information that meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018. Confidentiality and impartiality will be exercised at all times.

Feedback

We welcome suggestions and comments from people who use or provide our services. We believe that this can provide some important lessons to help us ensure that the service is improved for everyone.

If you have something to say about this policy or the information that is provided about them, then please let us know. Please refer any comments to the author of this document.