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Social housing issues and how to complain

Social Housing Issues Panel

Everyone deserves a safe and secure home.

If you live in social housing and you have an issue with your home or your landlord, there are ways to make things right.

How do I get an issue sorted?

To get an issue sorted you can:

  1. Report it to your landlord
  2. Complain to your landlord
  3. Escalate to the Housing Ombudsman.

You can take these steps for lots of issues, including:

  • mould or damp
  • poor insulation
  • broken doors or windows
  • leaking pipes
  • other repairs
  • anti-social behaviour
  • access problems
  • poor service from a landlord.

Step 1 - Report it to your landlord

Report the issue to your landlord. Most landlords have a website with a form to fill in, as well as an email address or phone number you can use.

If you live in council housing, contact your council. If you live in a housing association home, check your contract for contact details.

Step 2 - Complain to your landlord

If you've reported an issue and it hasn't been sorted or you're not happy, complain to your landlord. They should have a website explaining their complaints process.

Landlords must take your complaint seriously and cannot punish you in any way for raising a problem or making a complaint.

Most landlords have 2 stages to their complaints process:

  • Stage 1: They must respond within 10 working days of a complaint being logged.
  • Stage 2: If a complaint goes to stage 2, they must respond within 20 working days.

Read more about how to make an effective complaint.

Landlords will send you a final response, which may explain how they plan to fix things.

Step 3 - Escalate to the Housing Ombudsman

If you're not happy with your landlord's final response to a complaint, escalate it to the Housing Ombudsman. They are free to use, impartial and will investigate fairly.

Make a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman

You can also email or call 0300 111 3000.

Investigations take six months on average but can be faster or slower, depending on the case. The Ombudsman will check the facts and be thorough.

When the Ombudsman investigates and rules against a landlord, they must show they are acting within 6-8 weeks.

Last year (April 2022 to March 2023), the Ombudsman ordered landlords to pay over £1 million in compensation to residents.

Need more help?

Citizens AdviceShelter and other advice organisations offer free and impartial advice on housing issues, including your right to raise your issue through the courts. 

Dealing with housing problems can be stressful. If you want to talk to someone, contact NHS mental health services or speak to a mental health charity.

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