Making an effective complaint
We understand that sometimes things go wrong.
The information on this page is designed to help you make an effective complaint to your landlord so that it can investigate your complaint and hopefully, resolve the issues sooner.
This page also sets out what to expect from your landlord when you make a complaint.
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 repair requests, 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
It 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.
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.
If 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
Keep a copy of your complaint and the landlord’s responses to you
Keep a copy of the complaint you make to your landlord and any responses it sends to you.
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 the complaint you made.
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.
Work with your landlord to put things right
When you complain to your landlord, they might contact you 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.
Waiting for a response
The landlord will need to investigate your complaint.
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 include:
- 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
Your landlord must respond to your complaint in writing - this will usually be via email. If the landlord responds to your complaint you via another method, you should ask it to set out its response in writing.
Escalating a complaint
The Housing Ombudsman’s 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.
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.
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
The landlord's stage 2 response is also known as 'the final response'. When you contact us we will ask if the landlord has provided its final response and ask to see a copy.
Bring the complaint to the Housing Ombudsman
Get help from us
If the issues have not been resolved once you have had a final response from the landlord, you can refer the complaint to the Ombudsman for impartial investigation.
We will ask you what issues have not been resolved, what you would like the landlord to do to put things right and for a copy of the final response.