Housing – complaints about landlord services

Landlord services are the housing services that we provide to you because you are a council tenant(s) or leaseholder(s).

These services include:

  • Estate/neighbourhood management
  • Day-to-day repairs, planned maintenance and improvements
  • Rent and service charges
  • Resident involvement

Complaints about landlord services are treated slightly differently from complaints about other council services, including other Housing Services like homelessness and general housing advice.

This factsheet:

  • Tells you how to complain if you are unhappy with the landlord services we provide
  • Explains the Council’s process for dealing with complaints about landlord services
  • Explains how the Housing Ombudsman may be able to help you if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint

We welcome your complaints

We always aim to provide the best possible landlord services to you. However, we know that from time-to-time things do go wrong. When this happens we would like to know – your feedback helps us to improve our services.

Tell us when something goes wrong

If you are dissatisfied because:

  • you feel you were treated badly by a member of our staff
  • the service you received is not up to standard
  • we haven’t done something we promised
  • we haven’t taken all of your circumstances into account when making a decision
  • we haven’t followed our policies or procedures correctly

… please tell us as soon as possible.

The easiest and quickest way for you to let us know there is a problem is to talk to your Housing Officer or their manager.

We will work with you to try to:

  • understand the problem
  • come to an agreement with you about what can reasonably be done to make things right or at least explain why we can’t do things differently
  • Keep a record of problems and look at what we can do to prevent the same problems happening over and over again.

We aim to resolve most complaints informally within 5 working days.

2. Making a formal complaint

If you have discussed the issues but couldn’t agree a way forward through the informal complaints process please call the Council’s Customer Contact Centre to make a formal complaint.

How to complain:

  • In writing (by letter or email)
  • By phone
  • Online
  • In person at the Civic Offices

It is helpful if you can provide as much detail as possible about your experience and an outline of an outcome you think would be reasonable and appropriate.

What happens next?

  • We will ask an officer not previously involved with your complaint to look into the issues you raised.
  • They will talk with everyone involved, review any documents relating to your case and check we have followed our policies and procedures correctly.
    Things are not always straight forward – wherever possible the Investigating Officer will work with everyone involved to try to agree a way forward that is reasonable and fair.
  • They will write a formal response outlining their findings and recommendations. We send you the letter confirming the outcome of your complaint and details of any actions needed.

We aim to complete this stage within 20 working days. We will keep you informed of any delays.

3. Asking us to review your complaint

If we cannot reach an agreement and you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation you can ask for a review – you must do this in writing within 14 working days of receiving your letter.
Your letter should say why you feel we haven’t dealt with your complaint fairly, and what outcomes you wish to achieve as a result of having your complaint investigated further.

What happens next?

  • We will ask a more senior officer to take a fresh look at your complaint and make sure it was investigated thoroughly.
  • They will contact you to discuss your complaint and talk to everyone else involved. They will work with everyone involved to try to agree a way forward that is reasonable and fair.
  • They will write a report outlining the findings of their investigation and their recommendations. We will send you a copy of the report with a letter from the Head of Service confirming the outcome of your complaint and details of any actions agreed.

We aim to complete this stage within 30 working days and will keep you informed of any delays.

This is the end of the council’s internal complaint procedure.

4. Taking your complaint further

You have the right, at any point during the Council’s Complaints process, to contact the Housing Ombudsman, who is independent of the Council, regarding your complaint. However, the Housing Ombudsman will usually only investigate a complaint If you have exhausted the council’s complaints process. If you contact them in between stages of the Complaints process, they will usually refer the case back to the Council to complete any remaining stages. However, there are exceptions to this, and each case is looked at individually by the Housing Ombudsman.

The Housing Ombudsman’s contact details are as follows:
The Housing Ombudsman Service
PO Box 152
L33 7WQ

Tel: 0300 111 3000 (9.15am-5.15pm: Monday to Friday)
E-mail: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Useful contacts

Customer Contact Centre

0118 937 3787
Customer Relations Team, Floor 2, South Read, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU

Tenant Participation Unit

0118 937 2730

Housing Ombudsman

0300 111 3000

Citizens Advice Bureau

03444 111 306

Last updated on 04/07/2023