If you are not satisfied with the service your landlord is providing you have a right to complain to them and they must respond to you within fixed timescales.
The Government has taken action to raise awareness of residents right to complain through its Making Things Right campaign.
As a social housing provider, your landlord must be a member of the Housing Ombudsman Service which has published a Complaints Handling Code which sets out good practice for landlords about how to respond to complaints effectively and fairly.
Making a complaint
Your landlord must publish a Complaints Policy and Procedure which sets out your right to complain, gives a clear definition of what a complaint is, tells you the timescales for it will respond to you in and provides you with details about the Housing Ombudsman Service.
The Complaints Handling Code sets out:
- a universal definition of a complaint
- how your landlord should provide easy access to the complaints procedure and ensure that you are aware of it, including your right to access the Housing Ombudsman Service
- the appropriate structure of the complaints procedure – only two stages necessary and clear timeframes set out for responses
- a requirement that your landlord ensures it has fairness in complaint handling with a resident-focused process
- how your landlord should take action to put things right and what appropriate remedies are
- a requirement that your landlord creates a positive complaint handling culture through continuous learning and improvement
- that your landlord should demonstrate its learning in an annual report
External referral to the Housing Ombudsman Service
If you have complained to your landlord and remain unsatisfied with their responses you have a right to make a referral to the Housing Ombudsman; your landlord must provide you with details about how to do this.
The Housing Ombudsman Service is set up by law to look at complaints about housing organisations and seeks to resolve disputes between residents and landlords.
External referral to the Regulator of Social Housing
If you are not satisfied that your landlord is dealing with complaints effectively and is in breach of its requirement to have an effective and accessible procedure in line with the Regulator’s Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard, you can contact the Regulator to inform them about this.
The Regulator of Social Housing has powers to investigate social housing landlords for breaching its Regulatory Framework and outlined in its publication Regulating the Standards.
The role of Councillors and MPs
Until recently, if you wanted to refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service you had to speak to a Councillor or MP, a ‘Designated Person’, in the initial 8 weeks after your landlord has dealt with your complaint. This requirement has now been removed which makes it quicker and easier for you to refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.
However, Councillors and MPs can still be helpful in getting your complaints resolved by speaking to your landlord on your behalf and you should contact them for further advice and support if you think they can help.
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