Our new statutory Complaint Handling Code comes into effect from 1 April 2024 - find out more.

Complaint Handling Code 2022

The Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code sets out good practice that will allow landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly.

Complaint Handling Code 2024

If you are looking for the statutory Complaint Handling Code released 8 February 2024, you will find it and supporting guidance on the dedicated Complaint Handling Code 2024 page.

The below page refers to the 2022 Complaint Handling Code which is still applicable until April 2024.

Complaint Handling Code 2022

Following a review one year after it was introduced, which demonstrated overwhelming support for the Code, we updated it to strengthen provisions to support a positive complaint handling culture. The changes took effect from 1 April 2022.

What is the Complaint Handling Code?

Watch this helpful video that looks at what the Complaint Handling Code is.

Key areas in the Code

Key areas of the Code include:

  • universal definition of a complaint
  • providing easy access to the complaints procedure and ensuring residents are aware of it, including their right to access the Housing Ombudsman Service
  • the structure of the complaint's procedure - only 2 stages necessary and clear times set out for responses
  • ensuring fairness in complaint handling with a resident-focused process
  • taking action to put things right and appropriate remedies
  • creating a positive complaint handling culture through continuous learning and improvement
  • demonstrating learning in annual reports
  • annual self-assessment against the Code

The Code was introduced as part of the Ombudsman’s new powers in the revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme. The updated Code took effect on 1 April 2022 and landlords had until 1 October 2022 to self-assess and become compliant.

Changes to the Code are covered in an easy reference guide for landlords and residents together with a summary of the Code, updated Complaint Handling Code FAQs (housing-ombudsman.org.uk), and other supporting materials in the 'Helpful Links' section of this page.

Self-assessment

Landlords must carry out an annual assessment against the Code to ensure their complaint handling remains in line with its requirements and publish the results, but please note that these do not need to be submitted to the Ombudsman. Non-compliance could result in the Ombudsman issuing complaint handling failure orders. Guidance on these orders has also been reviewed and updated.

Guidance on Complaint Handling Failure Orders

The Code also acts as a guide for residents setting out what they can and should expect from their landlord when they complain. The requirements in the Code also provides residents with information about how to make a complaint and how to progress it through the landlord’s internal complaints procedure.