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How to complain to your landlord

Discover how to let your landlord know if things have gone wrong and what to do if you are unhappy with how the landlord has handled a reported issue.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction from a resident about the standard of service, actions, or lack of action by their landlord.

If you have reported an issue to your landlord and you do not think it has taken the appropriate action or responded in a suitable way, you can make a complaint to your landlord to let it know what you think has gone wrong.

A complaint is not a request for service and should be handled in line with the landlord’s complaint policy.

What is a service request?

A service request is a way for residents to ask their landlord to put something right. If you have an issue in your home, you should let your landlord know. Your landlord should tell you how it will respond to the report you have made to it and set out what action it will take.

The information on this page will help you make an effective complaint to your landlord if you are dissatisfied with the landlord’s response to a service request.

Step 1

Tell your landlord what has gone wrong

If you have reported an issue to your landlord and you do not think it has taken the right action, then you must let your landlord know. Your landlord will have its own procedures for how it responds to requests for repairs, reports of antisocial behaviour, and other issues you might be having in your home.

When you make a complaint to your landlord, you must be clear about what you think has gone wrong.

For example, if you are making a complaint about the handling of a repair you should tell the landlord:

  • when you first reported the issue  
  • any actions the landlord has taken since 
  • what you think it should have done 
  • what effect this has had on your or your household 

Lightbulb iconIt is important to follow the right process in the first instance to let your landlord know about the problems you are having and give it chance to put things right.


Step 2

The complaints process

Your landlord will have a dedicated complaints process on its website. If you cannot access their website, contact your landlord and ask for a copy.  

We suggest you make a complaint in writing via email, post, or your landlord’s online resident portal so that you can keep a copy for your records. 

We have created this template for you to use if you are not sure how to write your complaint.  

Download the 'make a complaint request' Word document

Lightbulb iconIf you need to make a complaint over the phone to your landlord, remember to take a note of:  

    • the name of the call handler 
    • the time and date of your call
    • the reference number for your complaint  


Step 3

Help if your landlord is not responding to your complaint

Landlords must provide a response to the complaint you made to it in writing. If you are having problems getting a response from your landlord, we can ask it to respond.

To do this, we will need to see a copy of the complaint you made to your landlord.

You can send this to us by completing our online complaint form

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Keep a copy of your complaint you make to the landlord and its responses to you.

Step 4

Work with your landlord to put things right

When you complain to your landlord, they might contact you for additional information or ask to visit your home to investigate the issues you have raised.

We understand that it can be frustrating when things go wrong, but working with your landlord offers an opportunity to put things right and may help to resolve the issues sooner.  

Step 5

Waiting for a response

The landlord will need to investigate your complaint. This might involve speaking to the relevant teams and departments involved. 

Stage 1

A landlord must acknowledge a complaint at stage 1 of its process within 5 working days and supply a written response within 10 working days from the date of acknowledgment.

The landlord’s stage 1 complaint response must set out: 

  • what stage of the complaint procedure you are at 
  • a summary the issues you have raised  
  • the landlord’s decision on your complaint and its reasons 
  • any remedies it has offered to put things right – this could be an apology or compensation  
  • details of any actions it will take to put things right 
  • details of how you can take your complaint to the next stage of the process if you are still unhappy 

Lightbulb iconYour landlord must respond to your complaint in writing - this will usually by email. If the landlord responds to your complaint by any other method, you should ask it to send its response to you in writing.


Step 6

Escalating a complaint

The Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code sets out that landlords must have a 2 stage complaint procedure. This is important because it gives you an opportunity to let your landlord know if you do not agree with the actions or decision made at stage 1 of the process.

Stage 2

We hope a complaint can be resolved directly with your landlord. However, if you are still dissatisfied after you receive a stage 1 response, you can request to progress your complaint to the final stage (stage 2). 

If you are requesting to escalate the complaint to stage 2, you should clearly set out: 

  • why you are unhappy with the response provided at stage 1 
  • what you would like the landlord to do to put things right 

We have created a template to help you write a request to escalate your complaint. 

Download the 'escalation request template' Word document

Step 7

The final response

A landlord must acknowledge a stage 2 complaint within 5 working days and supply a written response within 20 working days.  

The stage 2 response should be the landlord's full and final response to the complaint and should clearly set out: 

  • the final decision on your complaint 
  • that it is the landlord’s final response 
  • details of any remedy offered or actions it will take  
  • details of how to bring your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service for investigation 
  • contact details for the Housing Ombudsman Service  

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If you bring a complaint about your landlord to us for investigation, we will ask to see evidence that the landlord has supplied a response at each stage of its complaints procedure.

When to bring a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman

When to get help from the Housing Ombudsman

You can bring a complaint about your landlord to the Housing Ombudsman Service for investigation if you have completed your landlord’s complaint process and the issues have not been resolved or if your landlord is not responding to a complaint you have made to it. 

This page explains when to bring a complaint to us for investigation, how we can help you if your landlord does not respond, and what you need to bring the complaint to us.  

When to get help from us (opens in a new tab)