A tenant with a complaint against their landlord should raise it with their landlord in the first instance. If the complaint remains unresolved, then they have opportunity to refer their complaint to be reviewed independently by a ‘Designated Person’, and if it is still unresolved, then by the Housing Ombudsman.
‘Designated Persons’ were introduced by the Government to improve the opportunities for complaints about housing to be resolved locally, on the basis that local people know best how to decide on local issues. The introduction of designated persons is intended to involve local politicians and local people in resolving local housing issues. A designated person can be an MP, a local Councillor, or a Tenant Panel.
The Housing Ombudsman is set up by law to look at complaints about the housing organisations that are registered with them. Their service is free, independent and impartial. More information about both Designated Persons and the Ombudsman’s service is available on the Ombudsman’s website.
The HCA as regulator is responsible for regulating social landlords and does this by setting national standards which landlords must meet. The HCA does not have a statutory mandate to deal with individual complainants and cannot mediate in disputes between landlords and tenants. Landlords have principal responsibility for dealing with and being accountable for complaints about their service, and the HCA’s Tenant Involvement and Empowerment standard requires that they have clear and effective mechanisms for responding to tenant complaints.
The Regulator may only intervene in cases where a breach of a consumer standard has caused or could cause harm to tenants. More information on consumer regulation is available and in our Consumer Regulation Review.