How to complain to the council

If you're dealing with the council you have the right to make a complaint if something is wrong. You do not have to be a council tenant to complain about a council.

When to complain

You can make a complaint about issues you come across, including:

  • bad or unsatisfactory service

  • unfair treatment

  • rubbish in the stairwells or on the street

  • problems caused by the council's tenants

  • a housing waitlist decision

We have extra guidance if you're complaining about:

Step 1: make an informal complaint

You can try talking to someone at the council. Get them to write down any agreement you come to.

Step 2: send a formal complaint

Email or write to the council. Find your council's website, they may also have an online form you can use.

Keep copies of any letters or emails.

You must get a response from the council within 5 working days.

When you write, include:

  • what you're complaining about

  • when the problem started

  • what you've done to try and sort it out

  • any evidence you've got about the issue

  • what you want the council to do

  • your contact details

You can send any letters by recorded delivery or keep a read receipt on an email.

Step 3: ask for a final response

Ask them to look at your complaint again and send a final response.

They must do this within 20 working days.

Step 4: complain to the ombudsman

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.

If the council broke the law you could take them to court. There's a 3 month deadline for court action and you'll need a solicitor. Use the Law Society of Scotland website to find a solicitor.

Getting advice

Contact Shelter Scotland or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. An adviser could help you work out your next steps.

Last updated: 30 March 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England