Feedback

Complaints and Breaches

Whilst we expect LAS members to handle complaints from their tenants promptly and efficiently we understand that from time to time complaints may be raised to the Housing Standards Team within Portsmouth City Council by tenants, a neighbour, another landlord, local councillor or other council department. Whilst a complaint is often seen as a criticism of a landlord’s standards and management, it is the way in which we expect landlords to handle these complaints which sets them above the rest.

The aim of the following procedures is to provide a clear framework for investigating complaints and breaches of the LAS and so ensure that each case will be dealt with appropriately and in a consistent manner.


Complaints procedure

A landlord should have a written procedure for dealing with complaints from, or about tenants. The LAS requires landlords as a minimum to keep a record of all complaints and their outcome. The procedure should attempt to resolve the matter informally where possible.

When your tenant contacts you with a complaint or disrepair/maintenance concern, we would expect you to acknowledge the matter within 48 hours. If it is a matter of urgency i.e. water, gas or electricity you should action steps immediately to safeguard both your tenants and your property. Communication is key so you should arrange for either yourself, a representative or a contractor to attend the property at the earliest possible opportunity (with your tenant’s permission). You should then endeavour to agree a timescale with both the occupants and contractor to carry out works (if required).

Where matters cannot be resolved between landlord and tenants, you should seek advice from the LAS operator at their earliest opportunity.


LAS involvement

The LAS administrator may become involved in landlord disputes or complaints in one of two ways.

  1. The member has sought advice from the LAS. This is seen as a proactive step and the officer will work with the member to resolve the issue, either through discussions with the tenant, other interested parties or to offer suggestions of works to improve the standard or defects in the property which are effecting the tenant.
  2. A complaint has been raised to the Housing Standards department at Portsmouth City Council about a LAS member and/or property. At this stage either the LAS administrator, Housing Standards Officer or Tenancy Rights Officer will investigate the complaint (this may involve an HHSRS assessment) and report the matter to the LAS administrator. The LAS administrator will then contact both parties and try to resolve the situation and agree works, if necessary, with the landlord. If works are required following an HHSRS inspection, failure to agree/complete works may result in a formal notice being served.

Complaints

Any complaints about an accredited member regarding non-compliance with the scheme must be made in writing, or other agreed media – this includes; letter, email, fax, or directly through the website. A formal service request may also be made through the Housing Standards Department. A complaint should include:

  • Name of the landlord
  • The nature of the complaint
  • What steps have been taken to resolve the matter
  • A contact name, address and telephone number of the person raising the complaint. The LAS will not investigate anonymous complaints.

Letters of complaint should be sent to:

Landlord Accreditation Scheme
Private Sector Housing
Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth
PO1 2AL


Non-Compliance with the LAS expectations

The LAS is run with a few simple expectations:

  • Members comply with the Standards
  • Members are fit and proper
  • Members complete their CPD
  • Members conduct themselves in a professional manner and work in partnership with the LAS and Portsmouth City Council

If during membership of the LAS a landlord or property inspected is found not to comply with any of the above then the landlord will be contacted to discuss their non-compliance with a view to rectifying the matter.

If it is confirmed that the landlord has failed to comply with the LAS they will be given 14 days to correct the problem. Thereafter, failure to comply will constitute a breach of the conditions of membership of the LAS. The landlord will be contacted with details of the breach and the ongoing investigation and will be given 14 days in which to respond.

Where a breach constitutes legal action by the tenant, membership will be suspended until the outcome has been given.

While it is not the intention of the LAS or Portsmouth City Council to name and shame those whom are removed from the scheme, the case may be used to illustrate how the scheme is governed and administered.


Sanctions available

The following sanctions will be available to the LAS administrator in dealing with complaints

  • Recommend that the landlord apologises, in writing, to the tenant (or relevant person) for their conduct, action or omission.
  • To recommend to the landlord that they refund any undue costs to the tenant
  • If the complaint is based on the low standard of accommodation, then they can seek the Housing Standards Department to take enforcement action to ensure works are completed.
  • To advise the member to seek independent legal advice as the matter is no longer something that the Local Authority or LAS can advise on or be involved with.
  • Refer the landlord to the Review Panel who will consider the nature of the breaches, the representations of the landlord, tenant and other parties to decide on an appropriate sanction.

Please click below to browse the pages:

Aims and Objectives

Code of conduct

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

How do landlords become accredited?

Property standards

Why be accredited?