Complaints about the Housing Ombudsman Service

If you’re unsatisfied with the service you receive from us, here’s how to complain.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is when you tell us that you are dissatisfied with our service. It may relate to:

  • the quality or standard of service;
  • failure to provide a service;
  • how long we took to deal with your case;
  • conduct or attitude of a member of staff;
  • failure to follow our process.

What is not covered in the service complaint process:

  • an expression of disagreement about our decision on a complaint or evidence taken into account in reaching a decision. This is dealt with through our review process;
  • an attempt to re-open a previously concluded service complaint;
  • a request for information;
  • issues that are going through a legal process or already have been heard by a court or tribunal.

Who can make a service complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint to us including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our Service, or the service you have received from us.

When can a service complaint be made?

A complaint should be made as soon as possible and at the latest within four weeks of the issue arising, so that we can consider and resolve it promptly.

Information to include in your service complaint

It helps us if you can state clearly what happened, why you are making a complaint and what you would like us to do. Please include the following:

  • your title and full name;
  • your email address;
  • your full postal address;
  • your Housing Ombudsman case reference number;
  • preferred method of communication;
  • if you need someone to act on your behalf, please make sure they provide evidence of your authority to do so.

How we deal with a customer service complaint

We have a two-stage service complaint process.

Stage 1

We will let you know within three working days that we have received your service complaint and if we are considering it.

Your service complaint will be investigated by a member of the Quality Team.

There are three key questions we consider:

  • what are the specific issues complained about?
  • what is your expected outcome?
  • is your expected outcome reasonable or achievable?

We will establish the facts to ensure a full and objective response. We may:

  • talk to staff;
  • review evidence already available or provided by you.

Time frame to deal with your service complaint

The length of time it takes to resolve your complaint about the Service depends on the complexity of your complaint and what it involves. For example:

  • your complaint is about several issues;
  • your complaint is about an incident we don’t already have the information about;
  • your complaint is complex and we need longer to investigate.

We aim to give you a full response within ten working days.

Remedies to resolve a service complaint

To resolve your complaint, we will consider remedies so that, as far as is reasonably possible, we can put you back in the position you would have been in had we done things correctly. We have a variety of remedies available to resolve your complaint including:

  • an apology;
  • provide an explanation if something has clearly gone wrong;
  • correct an error or take other remedial action;
  • undertake to improve procedures or systems;
  • compensation.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the response to your service complaint at Stage 1, you may wish to contact us again to request that your complaint is escalated to Stage 2. Please do so within four weeks of our Stage 1 response.

Please tell us why you are still dissatisfied with our Stage 1 response, for example:

  • we did not cover all of your main points in our response;
  • you do not agree with our decision at Stage 1 of your service complaint, together with your reasons for disagreement;
  • you have new or relevant information that impacts on our Stage 1 response.

The Quality Team will assess your request for a Stage 2 investigation and will inform you within three working days if we are able to escalate your complaint to Stage 2.

A senior member of staff will then consider your service complaint and aim to provide you with a response within twenty working days.

The decision at Stage 2 is the end of our complaints about the service procedure.

How to contact us to make a service complaint

By telephone

Visit our Contact us page for full details.

When you call us our reception service will arrange for a member of the Quality Team to call you back within five working days, in order to take down your complaint over the telephone. The Quality Team will provide a written response.

In writing


We can’t discuss individual cases on social media. Should you submit a service complaint by Twitter we will refer you to the relevant team for a response.


Our privacy notice explains what type of personal data we might collect, from where and what we do with it.