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

Complaint handling

What is good complaint handling?

Good complaint handling follows the Housing Ombudsman’s Dispute Resolution Principles. They are: 

  • be fair – treat people fairly and follow fair processes 
  • put things right 
  • learn from outcomes 

These principles offer high level good practice guidance that should be followed by everyone in the complaints process. 

A gold standard in complaint handling can only be achieved when a landlord follows the principles of the Complaint Handling Code, which you can read on the right hand side of this page


Type 1 and 2 Complaint Handling Failure Order (CHFO) Guidance

The purpose of Type 1 and Type 2 complaint handling failure orders (CHFOs) is to ensure that a landlord’s complaint handling process is accessible, consistent and enables the timely progression of complaints for residents, in line with the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.

View the guidance (opens in a new tab)

Type 3 Complaint Handling Failure Order (CHFO) Guidance

The purpose of Type 3 complaint handling failure orders (‘CHFOs’) is to ensure that landlords comply with the statutory Complaint Handling Code (‘the Code’).

View the guidance (opens in a new tab)


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Complaint Handling Failure Order report - July to September

We have published our latest Complaint Handling Failure Order (CHFO) report. Giving 52 CHFOs between July and September – the most since reports began being published in 2021. 

Read the full report pdf
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Complaint Handling Failure Order report - April to June 2023

From April to June 2023, we issued 43 Complaint Handling Failure Orders with 18 of those not being complied with, the most non-compliance we’ve ever had in one quarter. 

Read the full report pdf

Statutory Code webinars

We are running the following statutory Code webinars to answer your questions about the new code.

You will be able to book onto a session for your landlord type via the Learning Hub from Monday 12 February.

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Local Authority and ALMO

Date: 21 February 2024

Time: 14:00-15:00

Find out how to book your place (opens in a new tab)
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Housing Associations with over 1000 homes

Date: 7 March 2024

Time: 14:00-15:00

Find out how to book your place (opens in a new tab)
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Date: 20 March 2024

Time: 10:00-11:00

Find out how to book your place (opens in a new tab)
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Small landlords and Abbeyfields

Date: 4 April 2024

Time: 14:00-15:00

Find out how to book your place (opens in a new tab)

Complaint handling drop in sessions

Join our next complaint handling drop in session

The Centre for Learning host free Complaint Handling monthly drop ins.

Landlords will have their questions answered on the Code in this engaging online session. 

Booking early is essential

Landlord training 

Dispute Resolution

The Dispute Resolution module is aimed at developing knowledge and understanding to help resolve issues at an early stage and at a local level, based on our dispute resolution principles: 

  • be fair 
  • put things right 
  • learn from outcomes 
Complete the e-learning (opens in a new tab)

Applying Dispute Resolution

The Applying Dispute Resolution module sets out how to use the dispute resolution principles to manage 3 types of complaint: 

  • repairs 
  • antisocial behaviour 
  • managing unacceptable behaviours 
Complete the e-learning (opens in a new tab)

Podcast with the Centre for Learning

Season 2, episode 1: Our strengthened Complaint Handling Code

In this episode, Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, talks to Sector Development Lead Dave Simmons, Head of Insight and Development Rebecca Reed, Head of Business Services at Tpas Louise Holt and Head of Customer Engagement at Community Gill Mooney about our Strengthened Complaint Handling Code.  

Following a review one year after the code was introduced, provisions have been strengthened to support a positive complaint handling culture. 

Listen to the podcast (opens in a new tab)

Case studies

The case studies are examples from our case work. We will always try to show one example where the landlord did things right and received a finding of no maladministration and an example where a landlord didn’t act in the correct way and received a finding of severe maladministration or maladministration  

No maladministration

In this case, the landlord consistently responded to the resident’s complaint in a timely manner. Adhering to complaint timescales within the Complaint Handling Code, the landlord ensured that there was no delay to resolving the issue for the resident.

On top of this, the landlord responded appropriately to the reports of repairs and communicated effectively and clearly throughout the complaint responses.

The landlord went further than the evidence of the case to make sure that if it had made a mistake that it would put things right for future residents as it instructed an independent specialist contractor to verify its findings.

Read the full case (opens in a new tab)

Severe maladministration

We found severe maladministration in this case after a 9-month delay in complaint handling left repairs outstanding and the resident without redress. We were forced to issue a Complaint Handling Failure Order to get the council to issue a response. 

After reporting the issue, the landlord made some repairs, but the resident reported the issue was still ongoing and made a complaint 2 months later. 

In the following 6 months, the resident kept in touch with the landlord, but it provided no update on the complaint, and it took the Ombudsman to intervene for it to provide more information to the resident. 

The resident then escalated the complaint but did not receive a response until 9 months later, leaving the problems unresolved. 

The resident had to take the time and inconvenience to message the landlord on various occasions to get a response. It was only when the Ombudsman issued it with a Complaint Handling Failure Order that the landlord sent its formal response. 

Further to this, the complaint response was inadequate as it did not cover all the issued raised in the complaint. 

Read the full case

Landlord Learning Hub

Centre for Learning online platform

Explore our NEW learning tool - the Landlord Learning Hub.

Log in and discover the training options available to you.

If you have not logged into the new Hub, you will need to set up an account to gain access to a range of learning materials.

Create an account (opens in a new tab)

Resident information

When to use the Housing Ombudsman Service 

If you are unable to resolve the complaint with your landlord directly via its complaint procedure, this service may be able to provide you with further assistance.  

View the residents' pages to find out how to raise and complaint to your landlord and when to escalate your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service. 

Find out more (opens in a new tab)