Step 1

Tenant makes a formal complaint to the landlord

  • The first person to tell about a problem with housing is the landlord. They might be able to put things right.

  • If the landlord does not put things right, that is the time to make a complaint.

  • All landlords have complaints procedures that should be easy to use, fair and designed to put things right.

  • This is the landlord's chance to put matters right and to resolve a complaint at the earliest opportunity.

  • Feedback, even in the form of a complaint, gives landlords the chance to learn and improve their services.

More information about complaining to your landlord.

Guide to making a complaint.

Did you know...?



...of cases were resolved by landlords and tenants, with our support, by using the landlord's complaints procedure.


Step 2

Tenant contacts a designated person

  • If the landlord cannot put things right, the next step is to contact an MP, a local councillor or tenant panel - these are the three types of designated person.

  • Designated persons are there to help to resolve disputes between tenants and their landlords. They can do this in whatever way they think is most likely to work.

  • If the designated person cannot help they can refer a complaint to the Ombudsman.

  • Complaints to the Ombudsman do not have to be referred by a designated person, but if they are not there must be at least 8 weeks from the end of the landlord's complaint process before the Ombudsman can consider the case.

More information about contacting a designated person.

Designated person factsheet

Did you know...?



of cases were referred to us by a designated person following completion of the landlord's complaints procedure.

Step 3

Contacting the Housing Ombudsman

  • If it is possible, early, local resolution is always the best resolution.

  • We help landlords and tenants to resolve complaints themselves at the earliest opportunity. This is the best way of building and keeping good relationships between landlords and tenants.

  • If the complaints procedure has been completed but the complaint or part of it remains unresolved, and either eight weeks have passed or the complaint has been referred by a designated person, you can ask the Ombudsman to determine the complaint.

  • We will check whether the case comes within our jurisdiction and, if it does, we will seek to resolve it either through our early resolution process or by investigation.

  • Under our early resolution process we will work with you and your landlord to explore options to resolve your dispute. We will use our experience of complaints handling to try to reach an agreed solution, which is then reflected in an Ombudsman’s determination.

  • If the dispute cannot be resolved within two months, or if you and your landlord do not wish to take part in the early resolution process, we will investigate the complaint. 


More about getting help from the Housing Ombudsman.

What kind of complaints can we investigate?

Did you know...?



...people, from over 180 organisations have completed our free online training on our Dispute Resolution Principles since November 2013.