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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Complaints

Many problems can be resolved by talking to someone at the Housing Executive. When this doesn't sort out the problem you can use the Housing Executive's formal complaints procedure. There are two stages to the complaints procedure. If you're not happy with the outcome of the formal complaint you might be able to ask the Ombudsman to look at your complaint or even take a Judicial Review against the housing association.

Estate agents and letting agents will often have their own complaints process. Many agents belong to a professional redress scheme which may be able to sort out problems if you're unhappy with the service you've been given by your agent.

You may be able to get help from social services if the Housing Executive can't help. Social services may be able to provide you with accommodation, help you to get money for a deposit or help you to stay in your home if you are in danger of losing it.

You can make a formal complaint if you are unhappy with a decision the Housing Executive has made or how the Housing Executive has treated you or your case. You need to use a different procedure to challenge a housing benefit decision, challenge a decision about your homelessness or appeal a decision to end your introductory tenancy.

Every housing association has a different complaints procedure. Your housing association's complaints procedure should be in your tenant's handbook.

The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman is there to make sure the service provided by public bodies in Northern Ireland is fair and efficient. You can complain to the Ombudsman if you believe the Housing Executive or your housing association has handled your case poorly or treated you unfairly.

Court action can be expensive and you may have to pay fees. If you win your case the judge may order the other side to pay some or all of your costs. If you lose your case, you could end up having to pay for the other person's legal costs as well as your own fees and any damages the judge awards. You might be able to get financial help with the costs of legal action through Legal Aid.

You can use the Small Claims Court to take legal action against someone if you are claiming less than £3000. You don't need a solicitor to go to Small Claims Court so the costs are much lower than the costs for other types of legal action.

You may need to go to court to resolve a housing problem you're having. The type of court you use will depend on your case. You will need a solicitor to help you with most court cases, but you don't need one for Small Claims Court.

You can complain if the Housing Executive refuses to carry out repairs which it is responsible for or if you are unhappy with the standard of work carried out.

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