Our Complaint Handling Code introduced in July 2020 sets out good practice that will allow landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly. 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 take effect from 1 April 2022.
Key areas in the Code
- 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 complaints procedure - only two stages necessary and clear timeframes 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 takes effect from 1 April 2022 and landlords will have until 1 October 2022 to 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 FAQs and other supporting materials. See Helpful links.
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 (see Helpful links).
The Code will act 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 provide residents with information about how to make a complaint and how to progress it through the landlord’s internal complaints procedure.