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Tenants advice and information

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4. Housing Complaints and Feedback

Our Complaints Process

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the council, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents. 

You will need to raise your complaint within 12 months of when you first noticed the issue. We will not normally consider a complaint made after that time.

You can make a formal complaint if you think we have:

  • done something wrong
  • behaved unfairly or impolitely
  • not carried out a service to an agreed standard
  • not responded to your request for a service within our stated timescale
  • or if you think we have got something wrong in an Exeter City Council policy decision


Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint on your behalf, if you are unable to do so. They will need signed authorisation from you.

Complaints can be made in writing by letter, email or via our feedback form. You can also call us, visit us in person or arrange a visit to your home using the contact details below.


Reviewing your concerns at Feedback Level

We offer a Feedback stage as part of our complaints service, in which we aim to review and resolve your concerns before logging a Corporate Complaint, to be reviewed by a senior member of the service.

Any member of the service can respond to Feedback. If we are unable to resolve your complaint at this stage, you are entitled to log a Corporate Complaint at Stage One. You are also entitled to log a Stage One Complaint without entering the Feedback stage if you would prefer.


Stage One - Investigation of your complaint 

We will acknowledge your corporate complaint within five working days. A Department Lead will investigate and respond within 15 working days. We may extend this if the investigation is complex.


Stage Two – Independent review of your complaint

If you remain dissatisfied after our Stage One investigation, you can request an escalation where a new senior officer will conduct an independent review. We will complete a Stage Two review within 15 working days and send you a final response. This timescale may be extended if the investigation is complex.

Before we carry out a Stage Two review, you will need to explain to us why you remain dissatisfied and why you are requesting a review. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of your complaint will not be sufficient. We will require evidence of any errors, inaccuracies in our findings or evidence of factually incorrect statements.


After your complaint

If your complaint remains unresolved at the end of our complaints process you have the following options available to you:

  • Approach a designated person with your complaint to try and resolve this at a local level
  • Use the Housing Ombudsman’s Early Resolution Service. This is an alternative process to formal investigation where they will work with you and us to resolve the dispute as fairly and quickly as possible
  • Refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman to be formally investigated.


Who are designated persons?

Designated persons are:

  • MPs (any member of parliament)
  • Exeter City Council Councillors
  • Tenant panels set up to deal with complaints

You can go directly to the Housing Ombudsman if you don't want your complaint to be looked at by a designated person. However, if you do not use a designated person, the Housing Ombudsman will not consider your complaint until eight weeks after you have received the final complaint response.


What is the role of the designated person?

During the eight weeks after our complaints process has been completed, a designated person can help resolve the complaint in one of three ways:

  1. They can mediate to help us and yourself find a solution
  2. They can seek to suggest a resolution
  3. They can refer the complaint straight to the Housing Ombudsman.

The designated person can work with you and the landlord to try and put things right in whichever way they think may work best. If the problem remains unresolved, either you or the designated person can refer the complaint to the Housing Ombudsman before the eight weeks have expired.


The Housing Ombudsman

The Housing Ombudsman Service is available to our tenants and leaseholders. They provide a free, independent and impartial dispute resolution service.

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman by:


Housing Ombudsman self-assessment

The Housing Ombudsman ask that housing providers publish a self-assessment of their complaints service. You can download our current self-assessment document.


Exeter City Council contact details

Website: Feedback form


Telephone: 01392 265759

Exeter City Council, Housing Complaints, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 9SA