Making an effective complaint
Be clear but brief
You should explain to your landlord why you are unhappy with how your landlord has handled the issue you reported to it.
For example, if you think the landlord hasn’t met its repair response timescales you should explain when you first reported the issues, what it has done since and what impact this has had on you.
Work with your landlord
Sometimes your landlord might need further information to be able to investigate your complaint properly.
We understand it is frustrating when your landlord gets things wrong, but it is important to give it chance to put things right.
If your landlord requests more information or a visit to your property to look into the issues, then you should work with your landlord to provide it with the information it needs.
Keep copies of everything
You should keep a copy of the complaint you make to your landlord and any responses it sends to you.
If the landlord does not respond to you, we might ask for a copy of the complaint you made to it so we can see what issues have been raised and when the formal complaint should have been responded to.
Use the correct channels
Landlords should have a dedicated complaints process to make a formal complaint.
This can usually be found on the landlord's website, but you can contact your landlord to request an email address or phone number for their complaints team or officer.
You should clearly set out your intention to make a formal complaint.
The complaint procedure
The Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code (‘the Code’) sets standards for landlord complaints procedures.
The Code sets out that member landlords should operate a complaint process with no more than two stages.
When you make a formal complaint to your landlord, it should provide acknowledgment to you in writing within five days. A complaint acknowledgment should clearly summarise the issues you have raised to it and when you can expect to receive a formal response.
A landlord must respond at stage one of its complaint process within 10 working days. This response will be in writing and should clearly set out the following:
- the complaint stage
- the complaint definition
- the decision on the complaint
- the reasons for any decisions made
- the details of any remedy offered to put things right
- details of any outstanding actions
- details of how to escalate the matter to stage two if the resident is not satisfied with the answer
If you are unhappy with the landlord's stage one response, you can request to escalate the complaint to stage two of its complaint procedure. When you do this, you should clearly set out the reasons you remain unhappy with its response.
A landlord has 20 working days to provide a stage two response to you in writing.
The landlord's stage two response should clearly set out its response and how you can escalate your complaint to this Service should you remain dissatisfied. This is called the landlords ‘final response’.