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Find out all you need to know about the two types of membership to the Housing Ombudsman Scheme.

There are two kinds of membership to the Housing Ombudsman Scheme:

What is a mandatory member?

Membership of the Scheme is compulsory for social landlords – primarily housing associations and Local Authorities, who are or have been registered with the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH).

A Mandatory member is a social landlord who is registered with the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH).

Registered Providers (RPs) of social housing are generally non-profit landlords such as housing associations and local authorities who hold housing stock, but can also be for-profit organisations.

A mandatory membership covers all housing activity of the bodies concerned as long as the issues to be considered are about the landlord and tenant relationship and covers all types of tenure, including periodic and long lease.

Organisations which have been registered with RSH but later deregister, will remain within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

What is a voluntary member?

Private landlords and agents are able to register as members of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme on a voluntary basis.

There is no requirement for private landlords and agents that are not registered with the Regulator of Social Housing to sign up to the Scheme. The Ombudsman’s Scheme and Complaint Handing Code set outs best practice for landlords to improve services provided to residents.

If you are a private landlord or agent and would like to find out more about becoming a voluntary member please visit this page: Voluntary Membership

What are my obligations as a Member?

As a condition of membership of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, members will be expected to:

  • Agree to be bounds by the terms of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme
  • Establish and maintain a complaints procedure with good practice recommended by the Ombudsman, including the Complaint Handling Code
  • Publish its complaint procedure and complete an annual self-assessment against the Ombudsman’s Code
  • Provide information as requested by the Ombudsman in a reasonable timescale
  • Ensure the Ombudsman is provided with up to date contact details

Failure to comply with the conditions of membership may result in an Ombudsman’s determination of complaint-handling failure and an order to rectify within a given timescale.

To update staff contact details and for all queries regarding landlord membership please contact

What is the membership fee?

Our current membership fee for 2023-24 is £5.75 per unit.

Members will be billed for a subscription payment on an annual basis.

How does the Ombudsman calculate the membership fee?

We use a Statistical Data Return (SDR) from the previous financial year to calculate the subscription fee for registered providers which includes; leasehold, shared ownership and rental properties.

Units owned and managed by Local Authorities (LA) are calculated by the Local Authority SDR. We will contact the Local Authority directly for information on their leasehold properties.

Between the months of January and March, we conduct a verification process. Members will receive an email requesting confirmation of the number of units they hold, prior to billing being issued.

If you have any questions regarding invoicing/finance please email:

Legislation regarding mandatory membership:

All bodies registered with the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) must be a member in the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction by effect of the 1996 Housing Act and  Localism Act 2011.


Schedule 2 (1) (1) of the Housing Act 1996 states that a social landlord [other than a Local Housing Authority] must be a member of an approved scheme covering, or more than one approved scheme which together cover, all housing activities. Therefore once a landlord is bound to belong to the scheme, this obligation extends to all its housing activities, including the activities of its subsidiaries.

There is no requirement for each of the subsidiaries to be a social landlord.