A report from the Housing Ombudsman covering April to June 2021 shows a 21% increase in the volume of enquiries and complaints received compared to the previous quarter.
The report, which is the latest in a series of reports called Insight, showed that the watchdog received 7,276 enquiries and complaints between April and June, up from 6,010 between January and March 2021.
Compared to the same quarter in 2020, the volume has gone up by 230%. However, the report notes that between April and June 2020, the service had experienced a reduction due to the COVID-19 lockdown. In that time, enquiries and complaints almost halved, dropping by 41%.
Most complaints made by tenants of local authorities were in relation to property condition (46%). Anti-social behaviour was the second-highest made complaint (14%), and complaint handling came third (11%).
Housing associations showed the same trends with 45% of all complaints made relating to property condition, 13% to anti-social behaviour and 11%, complaint handling.
Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, said there are several factors driving the increase in complaints, including heightened awareness of the complaints process.
He said that he expects a higher volume of casework to continue.
Mr Blakeway added: “As well as providing insight on the individual complaints we have received, these reports have an important role in sharing lessons from those more widely across the sector. Using this collective learning can help to resolve issues at a more local and earlier stage, for the benefit of both residents and landlords.
“Two cases involve anti-social behaviour and reinforce the need for action to be taken promptly whilst updating the resident as they are often living under stress. Our report also examines the role of mediation where there may still be a realistic prospect of resolving a complaint without carrying out a full investigation as it can help to restore a more trusting landlord-resident relationship.”
The full report can be read here.