How to complain about a housing association

Complain directly to the housing association before considering further action.

How to complain to the housing association

You usually complain to a housing association by filling in a special form.

Find out how your housing association handles complaints by asking at the office or checking its website.

If there’s no information about complaining, send your housing association a letter or email outlining your problem.

The housing association should tell you how long it’ll take to deal with your complaint.

Who can complain?


You can complain to a housing association if you rent your home from them.

For example, you can complain if the housing association has failed to do repairs, has done them badly or if they’ve not acted on concerns you raised about safety in your home.


You’re a leaseholder if you own your home on a long lease, including a shared ownership lease.

You can complain if the housing association is your freeholder and isn't doing what the lease says it must. For example, if the housing association isn't cleaning or maintaining the common parts of the building.

If you’re still not happy

At the end of the complaints procedure, you can take your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you’re not happy with the housing association's response. This service is free.

You have to wait for 8 weeks after you’ve gone through the housing association’s complaints process. Or you can make your complaint through your MP, a local councillor or a tenants' panel without waiting.

The Ombudsman will decide whether it can investigate your complaint. It can't usually help you if there’s a court case about your issue.

If the Ombudsman upholds your complaint, actions it could take include recommending the housing association:

  • sorts out your problem
  • pays you compensation

You may be able to use other alternative dispute resolution to settle your complaint if you’re not happy with the Ombudsman's decision or you may have to consider taking legal action.

Find out more from Citizens Advice about going to court

Health and safety complaints

If you’re unsatisfied with your housing association’s response to a complaint about health and safety in your home, you can complain to the:

Find your local council's contact details on GOV.UK

Last updated 18 October 2017 | © Shelter

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