Managing complaints

Whilst we expect accredited members to handle complaints from their tenants promptly and efficiently we understand that from time to time complaints may be raised to the Private Sector Housing Team 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 scheme 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 scheme 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.

I have received a complaint

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 can seek advice from the scheme , email [email protected] 

Rent it Right involvement

The scheme's support team may become involved in landlord disputes or complaints in one of two ways.

  1. The member has sought advice from the scheme. 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 Private Sector Housing Team about a member and/or property. At this stage either the Rent it Right team, Housing Standards Officer or Tenancy Rights Officer will investigate the complaint - this may involve an Housing , Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessment and report the matter to the Rent it Right team. The Rent it Right team 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.

Sanctions available

The following sanctions will be available to the Rent it Right team 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 Rent it Right 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.