How to challenge an overcrowding decision
You might think that an overcrowding decision or policy is unfair.
Depending on the situation you could:
ask for a review
make a formal complaint
contact your local councillor or MP
Check your council's policy
Ask the council for a copy of their allocations scheme or transfer policy.
The council must give you a summary of the rules if you ask for them.
The full policy should be on their website.
Find the right bit of the policy by searching for words like:
overcrowded or overcrowding
Check your overcrowding situation against the policy.
The bedroom standard is the recommended measure of overcrowding for the housing register. Not all councils use this and yours might use something different.
Ask for a review
You can do this if the council or housing association:
refuse your application for housing or a transfer
give you less priority or put you in the wrong band
offer a tenancy that is not suitable for your family
You often have 3 weeks to ask for a review of an offer or decision.
The letter from the council or housing association should tell you any deadline.
Complain to the council or housing association
You can do this if they:
ignore your emails
do not call you back
have a policy that seems unfair
treat you in a way that is rude or discriminatory
do not give you information you can easily understand
You can also complain if they do not follow the law or their own policies. But it's best to ask for a review first. You can complain later if you're not happy with the review decision.
How to complain
The council or housing association should make it easy for you to complain in different ways.
over the phone
by email or letter
through their website
Ask for a copy of their complaints process.
You can often find this online but make sure you're looking at the most recent process.
How soon a complaint should be dealt with
Most councils and housing associations have a 2 stage complaints process.
Your landlord's complaints policy should set out how long each stage should take.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) is a free and independent service that resolves disputes and complaints.
You can complain to them if you:
are not happy with the final response
experience unreasonable delays
The LGSCO says 12 weeks is a reasonable time for a council to give you a final response.
Contact your local councillor or MP
Your local councillor can:
raise your problem with the council's housing team
help develop plans and policies to deal with overcrowded housing
Councillors are elected representatives for your local community. Their role is unpaid.
Your local MP can:
run local advice surgeries
vote on new laws in parliament
raise issues of concern from your area in the House of Commons
How to contact your local councillor or MP
Use WriteToThem to:
find your local councillor or MP
send them an email
Local councillors and MPs are there to represent you even if you did not vote for them.
Last updated: 11 June 2023