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Accommodation privacy notice

The Residential Services team manages accommodation for students and staff at the University of Southampton. We take your privacy seriously.

We comply with data protection laws and principles. This means that when we collect your information, we’ll:

  • clearly explain why we’re collecting it 
  • only collect it for valid purposes 
  • only use it for the purposes we tell you about 
  • use it lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way 
  • store it securely 
  • aim to keep it accurate and up to date 
  • only keep it for as long as we need it 

This privacy notice tells you what information we collect, how we process it and what your rights are. The General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) (GDPR) states that we must give you this information.

Key terms

‘Data’ means any information that we hold about you. The data we may collect about you is listed below. 

‘Processing’ means doing something with your data. This may include collecting, recording, sharing or destroying your data.

Data we collect

When you apply for accommodation, we’ll collect: 

  • data you provided when applying to the University, which can include your: 
    • name 
    • title 
    • address 
    • contact details 
    • next of kin’s contact details 
    • personal email address 
    • telephone numbers 
    • date of birth 
    • gender 
  • any relevant identification numbers, such as: 
    • your University of Southampton ID 
    • your UCAS ID 
    • IDs from third parties that share data with us 
  • your nationality 
  • your programme(s) of study, your offer and enrolment status, and your years of study 
  • records of all contact we have with you 
  • bank, credit or debit card details secured using SSL technology 
  • information about any criminal convictions 

Any data we collect about your criminal convictions will only be used to: 

  • place you in appropriate accommodation 
  • support you in complying with any restrictions placed on you as part of the terms of any sentence

Sensitive personal data

We may also collect more sensitive personal data, known as ‘Special Category Data’. We'll only collect this if it's absolutely necessary and if you give us permission. 

If you agree, we may collect information about: 

  • your race 
  • your ethnicity 
  • your religion 
  • any disability or other medical information 
  • any other personal information 

You may also be asked for this when you enrol at the University. 

Any sensitive personal data you give us will only be used to: 

  • help place you in suitable accommodation 
  • ensure that any adjustments are made so you can live in halls safely and comfortably 
  • ensure a balance of students across our accommodation 
  • ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting 
  • fulfil any legal obligations we have

How we collect your data

We can collect your data from: 

  • you directly 
  • third-party sources you’ve had contact with, such as:  
    • UCAS 
    • University of Southampton systems, services, teams or departments 
    • the Home Office 
    • other accommodation providers 
    • funding organisations such as the Student Loans Company or your sponsor 

We’ll look to check that the third-party is legally allowed to share this data with us. We’ll also look to check that they have collected it from you fairly.

Why we collect your data

We collect your data so that we can process your accommodation application. Other University departments may use it for the purposes described in your enrolment privacy notice.

We need data about you to meet our legal requirements. We’ll always tell you why we’re collecting your data, and will only process it for those specific purposes. 

The data we collect will let you: 

  • apply for and accept an accommodation contract 
  • receive information about your accommodation, services, opportunities and events 
  • access support services across the University 

It will let us: 

  • provide your University accommodation and associated contracts 
  • communicate with you and respond to your queries 
  • ensure a balanced mix of students across our accommodation 
  • provide suitable support for you while you’re in halls, which may include us talking with other parts of the University 
  • provide data for reporting purposes for the University 
  • provide information to the University Student Discipline team 
  • analyse our student population, so we can anticipate demand for accommodation 

We’ll use some of your data to build a profile of you. This helps us offer you suitable accommodation and support. We will not use this to make automated decisions that will have a significant impact on you.

How we share your data

We’ll share your data within the University where needed, so that we can process your accommodation application. 

Your data can only be accessed by University staff who strictly need it. They’ll only process it when we tell them to. They must always work within strict confidentiality agreements.

Sharing your data with third parties

If it’s appropriate, we may share your personal data with: 

  • Third party accommodation providers or our contractors 
  • University of Southampton Students Union 
  • other departments within the University 
  • external agents of the University for debt collection 
  • emergency services, in emergency situations 
  • the Home Office and other bodies, where we’re legally required to do so 
  • the police or other organisations, in connection with the investigation of a potential crime 

These third parties must protect your data in the same way that we do. We do not allow them to use your data for their own purposes. 

Sometimes we may need to share your data with third parties so we can meet the University’s legal obligations. 

On very rare occasions we may share your data with a third party if we need to: 

  • defend the rights, interests or property of the University or third parties 
  • protect the personal safety of University constituents or the public 
  • protect against legal liability

How we store and protect your data

After you’ve applied for accommodation we’ll store your personal data for a period of time.

If you enrol at the University, we’ll store your data while you’re at the University, and for 15 months after you graduate.

If you do not enrol at the University we’ll store your data for 15 months after you apply.

If you enter into a contract for accommodation we’ll store your data for 7 years after that contract ends.

After this period, we’ll destroy or anonymise your data. Our Data Retention Schedule gives more information about how long we store data for.

Why we store your data for these periods

We store your personal data for these periods so that we can: 

  • show that we have not discriminated against candidates 
  • show that we have been fair and transparent when offering accommodation 
  • comply with the Limitations Act 1980

Data breaches

The University has procedures to deal with any suspected data breach. If we suspect a data breach, we’ll notify you and any relevant regulators.

Data accuracy

We’ll aim to keep your data accurate and up to date. You can let us know if the data we hold about you is wrong.

Your data rights

You have a right to: 

  • access and get a copy of the data we hold about you 
  • ask us to change incorrect or incomplete data 
  • ask us to delete or stop processing your data 
  • object to the processing of your data 
  • ask us to stop processing data for a period of time 

These are known as Subject Access Requests. You can make a Subject Access Request online or write to: 

The Data Protection Officer
Legal Services
University of Southampton, Highfield
Southampton SO17 1BJ 

You can also contact us by email: data.protection@soton.ac.uk

Refusing to provide data

You have a right to refuse to provide your data. If you do not provide your data, we will not be able to process your application for accommodation.

Changing how we communicate with you

If you want to change how we communicate with you please email us at: accommodation@soton.ac.uk

As part of your contract we’ll need to contact you about your accommodation and we'll usually do this by email.

Updating or changing your data

If your personal details change, or if the data we hold about you is wrong, please let us know.

Some of the data we hold comes from elsewhere in the University. If the data is not held by us, we’ll tell you how to get it corrected.

Making a complaint

If you’re not happy with how we’ve handled your data you can email us at: gdpr@soton.ac.uk.

You can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.