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Complaints about housing associations

Use the housing association's formal complaints procedure to complain. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, contact the Housing Ombudsman Service.

Tenants: when to complain

You can complain to a housing association if you rent your home from them or they manage your tenancy.

For example, you can complain if the housing association has failed to do repairs or has done them badly.

Complaints by leaseholders

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, you could complain if the housing association is not cleaning the common parts of the building or carrying out structural repairs.

How to complain

Contact the housing association through its neighbourhood office or estate office or find its contact details online.

Use the housing association's complaints procedure. Ask about it at their office or get information from their website.

Complete the housing association's complaints form. Complain by letter if you can't find any information about an official complaints procedure.

Give the housing association a reasonable amount of time to deal with your complaint.

Complain about your housing association

You can complain to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if the housing association is your landlord and won't carry out gas safety checks.

You can also complain to the council's environmental health department if there is a hazard to health or safety in your home and it is the housing association's fault.

Find your local council's contact details on

Contact the Housing Ombudsman Service

At the end of the complaints procedure, you can take your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you are not happy with the housing association's response.

The Ombudsman service is free. You usually have to make your complaint through your MP, a local councillor or a tenants' panel.

The Ombudsman can't help you until you have gone through the housing association's complaints procedure. It also can't usually help you if you have a court case about your complaint.

The Ombudsman decides whether it can investigate your complaint. It will investigate if the rules allow it to. The Ombudsman may ask you questions as well as contacting the housing association.

The Ombudsman could recommend that the housing association sorts out your problem and pays you compensation, if it upholds your complaint.

You may be able to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to settle your dispute if you are 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

Last updated 08 Jun 2015 | © Shelter

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