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Complaints against social housing providers

This content applies to England

The regulator's approach to complaints against registered providers of social housing in England.

The social housing regulator does not deal with service-related complaints on behalf of tenants or groups of tenants and leaves this role to the registered provider and relevant Ombudsman.

Complaining to the social housing provider

A tenant dissatisfied about the services of a registered provider should initially raise a complaint with the provider. All providers have responsibility for dealing with, and being accountable for, complaints about their services. The 'Tenant Involvement and Empowerment' standard (for more information about the performance standards for registered providers in England see the Regulatory standards page) requires all providers to have in place a clear complaints procedure and a statement about how they handle complaints, including complaints about performance against the standards.

Complaining to the Ombudsman

Tenants not satisfied with the way their landlord has dealt with their complaint should raise a complaint with the relevant ombudsman. This is the Local Government Ombudsman in case of a local authority provider, or the Housing Ombudsman in case of non-local authority providers. The ombudsman is independent and impartial, and the service is free of charge. S/he may look into complaints that a tenant has been treated unfairly or received bad service through some failure on the part of a provider.

Powers of the social housing regulator

Under the Regulatory framework for social housing in England from April 2015, the social housing regulator (see the Regulator of social housing page for information on the current regulator) is responsible for setting economic standards for private registered providers of social housing (PRPSHs) only, and consumer standards for all registered providers (RPs), including local authorities.

The regulator will take a proactive approach to compliance by PRPSHs in respect of the economic standards (ie Governance and financial viability, Value for money, and Rent standards) as described in the Regulatory Standards, but not in relation to the consumer standards (ie Tenant involvement and empowerment, Home, Tenancy, and Neighbourood and community standards) applicable to all RPs, where the regulator will intervene only where there is actual, or risk of, serious harm to tenants.


The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

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