What we do

The Housing Ombudsman Service is set up by law to look at complaints about the housing organisations that are registered with us. Our service is free, independent and impartial.

We resolve disputes involving the tenants and leaseholders of social landlords (housing associations and local authorities) and our voluntary members. Residents and landlords can contact the Ombudsman at any time for support in helping to resolve a dispute. Our service is funded through annual landlord subscription fees.

How we work

Our work is governed by the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, which sets out the matters that we can and cannot consider within our role. Our Jurisdiction fact sheet provides more information.

It is mandatory for all local authorities and registered social housing providers to be members of the Ombudsman Scheme. We also have several private landlords and letting agents who have joined voluntarily.

We consider complaints using our dispute resolution principles, and encourage landlords and residents to use these principles to resolve complaints together at the earliest possible opportunity.

We also support effective dispute resolution by sharing our knowledge, insight and learning from our casework to help improve landlord services and residents' lives. We do this through a wide range of learning and engagement tools for landlords and residents.

Our services

There are three key external service areas: Dispute support, Dispute resolution and Insight and development.

Dispute support
  • provides advice and guidance to residents and landlords while complaints are within the landlord’s complaints procedure
  • holds landlords to account if they do not follow their published procedures and respond in a timely manner by issuing complaint handling failure orders to require action by landlords on individual cases
  • offers additional support and conducts intervention work with landlords to improve complaints handling
  • acts as the initial point of assessment for cases that have exhausted the landlord’s complaints process
  • generates intelligence which drives our Insight and development activity.
Dispute resolution
  • undertakes formal investigations into cases that have been referred and remain unresolved following completion of a landlord’s internal complaints procedure
  • generates intelligence which drives our Insight and development activity.
 Insight and development
  • uses insight and data to identify trends in complaint types, root causes and emerging complaint handling performance concerns
  • carries out thematic investigations into issues affecting the sector and produces regular ‘Spotlight Reports’ to share our learning and drive improvements
  • investigates systemic issues relating to individual landlords, taking appropriate proactive action in accordance with the systemic investigation framework
  • shares expertise, insight, experience and learning to influence the sector to drive a positive complaint handling culture
  • delivers a wide range of learning and engagement tools for landlords and residents.
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