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How will you investigate my complaint?

Step 1

We check if we are the right Ombudsman for the complaint

Once we receive your complaint and confirm it has completed the landlord’s complaint process, we pass it to our triage team for review. They decide if the issues raised fall under our remit to consider – this is also known as our jurisdiction. 

We will always aim to tell you as soon as possible if the issues you are raising should be referred to a different Ombudsman or organisation. 

If we can consider the issues raised in your complaint, we will contact the landlord and request any information we need to start our investigation.

Lightbulb iconWe cannot consider all housing complaints. For example, a homelessness application or housing allocations under the duty of a local authority would be for the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to consider. 

Step 2

We explore if a resolution is possible

Where possible we will work with you and your landlord to help you reach an agreement fairly and quickly, without the time it takes to complete a full investigation. 

We use our expertise in resolving complaints to explore options for the landlord to put things right. 

If you and your landlord agree a resolution, we will set out the agreed terms in writing, also known as determination and follow up with you and the landlord to check that all the agreed actions have been completed before we close the case. 

Step 3

We investigate the complaint

If we cannot resolve the complaint in early resolution or we decide that it requires a full investigation, the Dispute Resolution team will complete a formal investigation. 

When we investigate complaints, we make decisions by looking at the available evidence. The purpose of our investigation is to assess whether a landlord has acted fairly and whether its actions were reasonable, taking all the circumstances of the case into account. 

What happens once the investigation is complete?

Once an investigation is complete, we send a determination letter and investigation report to the resident and/or representative and the landlord. The report sets out: 

  • the complaint issues we investigated
  • the background to the case 
  • the evidence we have used in assessing the case 
  • the reason behind any findings and decisions made

What findings can the Ombudsman make?

The purpose of our investigation is to assess whether the landlord responded appropriately and decide whether its actions were fair and reasonable, taking all the circumstances of the case into account. 

We investigate the complaint based on the evidence available to us and make a finding. There are eight possible findings the Ombudsman can make. 

Discover more about our findings

What evidence will you use to investigate my complaint?

Our investigations are based on the evidence available to us.

We will ask the landlord for: 

  • a copy of the lease or tenancy agreement 
  • relevant policies and procedure 
  • copies of complaints and response and other relevant correspondence 
  • notes, surveys, reports, and other records relevant to the case.

How long does an investigation with the Housing Ombudsman take?

We aim to deal with all cases as quickly as possible, but investigations can be long and complex. Our average investigation time is around 6 months with 99% of cases completed within 12 months.  

What can you tell my landlord to do?

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, we may set out orders and recommendations to the landlord in our report to put things right. 

This could mean telling the landlord to: 

  • pay compensation 
  • apologise  
  • review its policies and procedures 
  • complete any outstanding repairs 

Orders aim to put things right to resolve the individual complaint and landlords are obliged to follow our orders. 

Recommendations are made where wider learning or improvement could improve housing services across the landlord for the benefit of other residents.

We will work with you and your landlord to make sure that it carries out the orders and recommendations we make to it to put things right. This could mean we ask for evidence from you and the landlord that it has completed a repair or paid compensation to you. 


This key topic page explores the variety of orders that we can make to put things right.

Find out about compensation, ordering a repair to be undertaken or a survey to be completed, as well as apologies and reviews of policy.  

Our orders (opens in a new tab)

What if I do not agree with the Ombudsman’s decision?

If you do not agree with a decision made by the Ombudsman, you can request a review. 

Requesting a review

You can ask us to review our decision on your complaint if:  

  • you have new facts or evidence which may have a bearing on our original decision 
  • you are challenging the facts or evidence on which we relied when making our decision 

We will not be able to review our decision about your complaint because you disagree with our decision or have a different view to us, and a review does not mean that we will look at your original complaint again.  

Policy and guidance on reviews of determinations (opens in a new tab)

Bring a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service

Our online complaint form

Before you can bring a complaint about your landlord to the Housing Ombudsman Service, we will need to ask you some more information.

Our online complaint form will ask you for information about you and your landlord and the details of your complaint.

Bring your complaint to us (opens in a new tab)