Complaining about an individual body

publication date: Dec 21, 2018
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

How to complain against individual property bodies


Here is our guide to complaining against individual bodies - use the list below to jump to the body you need to know about:

Before you continue - read our general guide to complaining about property companies.

Jump to:

How to complain about a surveyor

Top complaints

  • Failure to spot major defects, resulting in financial loss
  • Communication issues

Complaints procedure

  • Request a copy of the complaints procedure from the company (it should be available on the website) which should detail timescales
  • Put your problem in writing, including photos and quotes for remedial work, if applicable. Keep copies of all correspondence
  • Follow the complaints procedure
  • If there is a property defect, a re-inspection may be required
  • If the issue is not resolved, refer it to the relevant redress scheme; either CEDR or The Property Ombudsman 

How to complain about a plumber

Top complaints

  • Problem not fixed
  • Engineers are late
  • Poor customer service

Complaints procedure

  • Write to the company, keeping a copy of all correspondence
  • Ask for details of their formal complaints procedure, or membership of any trade organisations, eg WaterSafe, Checkatrade, NAPIT or CIPHE
  • If the issue is still unresolved, and the company belongs to a redress scheme, refer the complaint to the relevant scheme
  • If they do not, or you cannot find out, contact Citizens Advice

How to complain about an estate of letting agent

According to the Property Ombudsman, the most common complaints about estate agents and letting agents in 2017 were:

  • Communication and record keeping
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Instructions/terms of business/commission/termination
  • Tenancy agreements, inventories and deposits
  • In-house complaints handling

NB: You can’t claim compensation for “frivolous or vexatious complaints” (TPOS, PRS)

Complaints procedure

  • Complain to the agent directly – all agents must have, by law, a complaints procedure, making a note of the date, time and details of the conversation
  • Explain what it is you want the agent to do to put the situation right
  • Take copies of your complaint and ensure you have evidence via an email read receipt or recorded delivery. Keep copies of all correspondence and notes
  • If the issue is unresolved after eight weeks, you can refer the complaint to the relevant redress scheme
  • Find out if they are a member of the Property Ombudsman or The Property Redress Scheme (they are legally obliged to belong to one of the two) they will independently, for free, assess your complaint.

The government is currently analysing feedback on a consultation about improving redress in the housing sector, including the option of introducing a single housing ombudsman. You can read more here.

How to complain about a specialist damp contractor

Top complaints

  • Unnecessary treatment
  • Poor quality of work

Complaints procedure

  • Write to the company, keeping copies of any correspondence
  • Ask for their formal complaints procedure and if they belong to any trade bodies such as the Property Care Association (PCA)
  • Follow the complaints procedure
  • If still unresolved, refer the complaint to PCA or contact Citizens Advice



How to complain about a search company

Complaints procedure

  • Call or write to the search company about you complaint, keeping copies of all correspondence or a note of the conversation
  • If your issue is unresolved, request their formal complaints procedure and follow it
  • For COPSO members, a formal complaint should be acknowledged within five working days of receipt
  • Complaints should normally be dealt with within 20 working days of receipt – final written response should be sent within 40 days
  • If still unresolved, refer the issue to The Property Ombudsman Scheme via or call 01722 333306.



All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of
Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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