Complain to the Housing Ombudsman about repairs in social housing

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman if you complained to your council or housing association landlord about repair problems and aren't happy with the result.

How the housing ombudsman can help

The Housing Ombudsman Service is responsible for complaints about council or housing association landlords.  

They can look at how your landlord dealt with your request for repairs. The Ombudsman decides if your landlord acted properly and followed the correct procedures. 

Their decisions are not legally binding but most landlords usually follow them.

If they agree with your complaint, they can:

  • recommend that your landlord takes steps to put things right
  • suggest that the landlord pays you compensation

The Ombudsman does not have to investigate every complaint made to them.

If you have a complaint about other council services, you should complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

How to complain to the Housing Ombudsman

1. Make a formal complaint to your landlord

You should use your council or housing association’s formal complaints procedure first. Check your tenant’s handbook or your landlord’s website to find out how to do this.  

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman for guidance and assistance with making your complaint.

A clear complaint can help your landlord understand the problem and what steps are needed to put things right.

Make your complaint in writing and keep a record of it.

2. Contact your local councillor, MP or tenant panel

If you’re unhappy with your landlord’s response to your complaint, contact a local councillor, MP or your council or housing association’s tenant panel. 

You should tell them:

  • why you made your original complaint
  • why you’re unhappy with your landlord’s response
  • what you want the landlord to do to put things right

They can try to resolve the situation for you. Ask them to inform you of any action they are taking and when the dispute may be resolved.

3. Contact the Housing Ombudsman  

If your local councillor, MP or tenant panel is unable to resolve the situation, you can ask them to refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.

Alternatively, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman directly. But you must wait until 8 weeks after your landlord gives you their final response to your complaint.

The Housing Ombudsman will look at the complaint and check if they are able to intervene.

If they can, they will try to resolve the situation through their resolution process or by investigating further.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person


Last updated 14 Jun 2018 | © Shelter

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