November 19, 2009
Complaints about housing associations should be made using the housing association’s formal complaints procedure. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Housing Ombudsman Service may consider your complaint.
Who to contact
If your landlord is a housing association, you can complain about your home, for example if the housing association has failed to do repairs or has done them badly. Also if the tenancy of your home is managed by a housing association, you can complain to the housing association about your home.
If you own your home on a long lease (including a shared ownership lease), and the housing association is the freeholder, you can complain if it is not doing what the lease says, for example cleaning the common parts of the building or carrying out structural repairs.
Anyone can complain about high levels of litter, dog fouling, fly tipping, noise or antisocial behaviour on a housing association estate.
Often you can contact a housing association through its neighbourhood office or estate office.
You can also complain to the environmental health department if there is a hazard to health or safety in your home, and it is the housing association’s fault.
How to complain
Use the housing association’s complaints procedure. Ask about it at their office, or get information from their website or from an advice agency.
If the housing association does not seem to have a complaints procedure, or if you cannot get any information about it, complain by letter. The housing association should deal with your letter under the complaints procedure.
If at the end of the complaints procedure, you are not happy with the result you can go to the Housing Ombudsman Service or you may be able to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or go to court.
The Housing Ombudsman Service
You can complain about housing associations to the Housing Ombudsman Service. The Ombudsman can’t usually help you until you have gone through the housing association’s complaints procedure, and it can’t usually help you if you have a court case about your complaint.
The Ombudsman will first decide whether it can investigate your complaint. If the rules allow it to, it will investigate. The Ombudsman may ask you questions as well as asking the housing association. The Ombudsman will then come to a decision. If the Ombudsman agrees with your complaint, it could recommend that the housing association treat you properly and possibly to pay you compensation.
You can get more information from the Housing Ombudsman Service Website.
If you are not happy with the Ombudsman’s decision, you may be able to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or go to court.
The Tenant Services Authority
The Tenant Services Authority is the national Government agency that regulates most housing associations. They do not normally deal with complaints about housing associations but may do so in exceptional circumstances – eg if it looks like there are patterns or trends appearing in the complaints received, or serious fraud has occurred at a housing association.