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How to complain about the council

If the council has done something wrong, you have the right to make a complaint. If you're unhappy with their response, you can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman or take court action.

When to complain

You can make a complaint about issues such as:

  • unfair treatment or discrimination when dealing with the council

  • problems with your home if you rent from the council, such as repairs not being done

  • problems with the council's services in your local area, such as bin collections

  • problems caused by council tenants

You do not have to be a council tenant to complain.

Step 1: contact the council informally

You can try talking to someone at the council. Explain what the problem is and how it's affecting you.

Keep a record of who you spoke to and when. Get them to write down any agreements you come to.

Step 2: send a formal complaint

Email or write to the council. Find your council's website on

Keep copies of any letters or emails you send.

Use our letter templates to complain about:

For other issues, write a letter that includes:

  • what you're complaining about

  • when the problem started

  • what you've done to try and solve the problem

  • any evidence you've got, including letters or emails you've sent previously

  • what you want the council to do

  • your contact details

The council must respond to you within 5 working days.

Step 3: ask for a final response

If the problem is not resolved, ask the council to look at your complaint again and send a final response. This is sometimes called a stage 2 complaint.

Your complaint will be looked at by a different member of staff. They must do this within 20 working days.

Step 4: if you're unhappy with the final response

You can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The ombudsman is a free independent service that resolves disputes and complaints. You must complain to them within a year of the problem starting.

Taking legal action

If the council broke the law, you could take them to court. This is called a judicial review. There's a 3 month deadline for court action and you'll need a solicitor.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland.

You could get legal help for free or at a lower cost.

Last updated: 5 April 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England