Changes to the Housing Ombudsman Scheme took effect from 1 October 2022, making it easier for residents to access our service if they remain unhappy with their landlord’s final response on their complaint.
The revised Scheme removes the ‘democratic filter’ following a change in the law. It means residents will no longer have to contact a designated person or wait eight weeks before referring their complaint to us if they remain dissatisfied at the end of their landlord’s complaint process. Complaints within our jurisdiction will come into our formal process for assessment.
Residents can still contact their MP, local councillor or tenant panel about a complaint, but the designated person role will not be part of our formal process. Removing this barrier will ensure that social housing residents are not disadvantaged and have direct access to an Ombudsman, as well as helping to speed up the overall complaints process.
As a reminder, residents can also contact us if they are having issues accessing their landlord’s complaints process or if they have complained to their landlord and it has not responded in line with its complaints policy. We do not investigate complaints before they have completed the complaints process, but we can take steps to encourage landlords and residents to work together to resolve a complaint.
The Scheme has been updated to reflect the removal of the democratic filter as well as some updates on the requirements set out in the Complaint Handling Code.
We have also updated our policies and guidance to reflect the changes. Links to those and the revised Scheme are set out below:
- Revised Scheme – other updates reflect the requirements set out in the Complaint Handling Code.
- Guidance on jurisdiction – this includes the treatment of complaints where the pre-action protocol on housing conditions has commenced.
- Guidance on investigations
- Guidance on outcomes
- Guidance on remedies – this includes a new level of redress for severe maladministration and compensation in the context of rents including awards by the Ombudsman where there may be arrears.
As there will be an initial influx of complaints and demand is expected to increase, it will not be possible to assess all of the cases immediately but we will keep residents informed about our timescales.