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Complaints Procedure – Your Feedback Matters

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  1. Your feedback matters
  2. Making a complaint
  3. Issues and topics
  4. How to make a complaint
  5. Our drive for improvement
  6. Get in touch

Your feedback matters

Your thoughts and feelings are important.

We welcome customer feedback at any time. It helps us to understand how well we are doing and where we may need to make further improvements to our service.

We always strive for excellence, but sometimes things can go wrong or you may feel that we have not met your needs fully or in the way that you would have liked.

If this should ever happen, please get in touch with your Property or Development Manager.

Making a complaint

Whenever you contact us, please give us your customer account number and address, so that we can quickly identify your development. You’ll find your customer account number on your latest service charge bill.

Our team will listen to your concerns and ask what you would like them to do. They should be able to sort things out quickly for you and, if they feel they cannot deal with the matter themselves,they will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.

This is the fastest and easiest way to resolve most problems. However, if that is not the case, you can ask us to review the matter through our formal complaints procedure. If you rent your property, please refer this matter in the first instance to your landlord.

For some issues, we will let you know what we can do or put you in touch with someone else who may be able to help, such as Citizens Advice Bureau, your local authority or trades people.

Examples of issues that are not normally covered by our complaints procedure include:

  • General enquiries and requests
  • Complaints made by one resident about another – unless your lease allows for this
  • Defects inside your own property, unless they are caused by a problem within the communal areas that we manage
  • Issues brought by a public service body, such as police or a local authority

Customer advice

Whenever you contact us, please give us your customer account number and address, so that we can quickly identify your development. You’ll find your customer account number on your latest service charge bill.

Issues and topics

Here are some examples of issues that you may wish us to look into through our formal complaints procedure:

  • You feel that we have failed to follow our own policies and procedures or the law
  • We have failed to act appropriately or have been negligent
  • You believe we have discriminated or acted unfairly against you
  • You have a problem with the behaviour or actions of one of our employees or contractors

We know that making a complaint can be stressful, so we aim to make the experience as simple and straightforward as possible.

Our three step process will help us to review and resolve your concerns quickly, fairly and fully.

How to make a complaint

Here is a quick guide to getting any complaint sorted:

Stage 1. Formal complaint

You can ask any of our staff to raise a Stage 1 complaint for you. This can be done in person, by email or in writing. We aim to acknowledge your complaint by email or in writing within three working days, but this may take longer during busy periods or public holidays.

If you are writing to or emailing us, please clearly state that you are making a Stage 1 complaint so that we can quickly get this to the attention of the right person. Your customer number will help as well.

Please do not address or copy your complaint to any named individuals, as this can hold things up – they may be away from the office or on leave.

The fastest way to get a complaint resolved is between you and your Property or Development Manager. If they have already had discussions with you, we’ll then investigate your complaint in detail.

In most cases, we should be able to complete our investigations and fully reply to you within fifteen working days. If we think it will take longer, we will let you know and tell you when we expect to complete our review.

Whether we discuss our response with you in person, by phone or email, we will always confirm it in writing.

Stage 1 – complaints

  • Post: FirstPort, Marlborough House, Wigmore Place, Luton, LU2 9EX
  • Email: customerrelations@firstport.co.uk

Stage 2. Final review

If you are unhappy with the response to your formal complaint, we can review this Senior Management team take a fresh look at it. Please respond to us, clearly advising that you are now seeking a Stage 2 complaint review and the reasons for your dissatisfaction.

We will let you know how this will be carried out, depending on the exact nature of your concerns. Most Stage 2 complaints will be reviewed by a member of the Senior Management team or perhaps a complaints panel.

However, depending on the topic and its urgency, it may sometimes be better for someone else to carry out the review for you, in which case we will let you know.

Either way, your complaint will be carefully reviewed and we’ll take full account of all the issues and any actions taken or proposed. We will always seek the best possible outcome for you, and use this to guide our final decision.

If we cannot reach agreement with you, this will usually be referred to the Ombudsman as a deadlock situation requiring an independent review.

You will normally receive our final response in writing within four weeks, and within ten working days of any advised panel meeting. If we feel we need more time or information to reach a suitable conclusion, we will let you know when you can expect us to get back to you.

Stage 3. External review of complaint

We always try to fully resolve concerns ourselves, and we successfully achieve this for the vast majority of complaints we receive.

However, if we cannot do so and have reached deadlock (or more than 8 weeks has elapsed since your complaint was first made), you can seek a free and independent review of our actions within the next 12 months. We will advise you of your options in our Stage 2 response, but most complaints will be referred to The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS) or the Building Safety Regulator – we will let you know whether the Ombudsmen or Regulator is the appropriate external review.

The Property Ombudsman Service

This is an independent body who deals with property-related complaints for many different organisations in the UK. See below for details of how to contact them. Please note that the Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints about perceived value for money, which (for leasehold properties only) would instead need to be considered by the First Tier Tribunal of the Property Chamber in England or a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in Wales.

The Ombudsman service does not deal with any complaints that are subject to court proceedings or which they consider to be malicious or unjustified. They will be happy to clarify if they are able to review your complaint for you following our Stage 2 response.

We fully respect the independence of these bodies and will always honour their rulings. We pay the cost of all cases heard by TPOS, so there are no charges for you, either personally or through your development’s service charge. However, other tribunals/forums may require you to pay an up-front case fee.

For more information about the Property Ombudsman Service, click here.

Building Safety Regulator

Where your complaint is regarding fire safety or structural safety the external review will be via the Building Safety Regulator.   Please see the Higher Risk Building section for explanation.

How to contact The Property Ombudsman Service

  • Telephone: 01722 333 306
  • Email: admin@tpos.co.uk
  • Post: The Property Ombudsman Service, Milford House, 43-55 Milford Street, Salisbury SP1 2BP
  • Website: Visit The Property Ombudsman Service website here.

Complaints process for higher risk buildings in England

A higher risk building is a building that is more seven storeys or 18 meters in height, whichever is reached first.   These buildings are registered with the Building Safety Regulator and follow the Regulator’s building safety regime regarding fire and structural safety.

All of our teams are aware of which buildings are higher risk buildings and will reference this within our replies.

Complaints for higher risk buildings that are considered ‘relevant complaints’ for the Regulator to externally review will be handled by the Building Safety Regulator not The Property Ombudsman Service. This applies to the following topics:

  • Fire safety
  • Structural safety
  • The performance of the accountable person

If the complaint doesn’t refer to the above topics (i.e. is not classed by the Building Safety Regulator as a relevant complaint), you may still raise the complaint with The Property Ombudsman Service for review under their criteria.

Please raise complaints regarding higher risk buildings with us in the same way as any other complaint. If this is considered to be a relevant complaint, as defined by the Building Safety Act, then we shall advise this within our response.

Our timelines for responding to your complaint will be the same as that stated in our published complaints’ procedure.

Where FirstPort is not an Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person, we may need to request that you raise your complaint with the Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person – this is usually your building owner / landlord or a Resident Management Company.    Where this is necessary, we will advise.

How to contact the Building Safety Regulator

Our drive for improvement

Once your complaint is resolved, we may contact you among a regular sample of customers to invite you to give your feedback. You can then tell us how we dealt with your concerns and let us know if there is anything else you would like us to do.

One of our senior managers may ask you for this directly, or we may invite you to take part in a short survey.

You can also share with us any other ideas you have as to how we could improve our service. You can do this at any time using the contact information on the inside back cover.

We regularly review this information, together with other feedback from our customer forums, development meetings and formal research surveys.

Independent advice

LEASE (The Leasehold Advisory Service) offers FREE advice on the law affecting residential leasehold in England and Wales. It is totally independent and is funded by Government.

  • Post: Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX
  • Website: Visit Lease Advice here.

Get in touch

Whenever you need advice or information, we’re here to help.

Your Feedback Matters

We develop and evolve our services in line with what we believe our residents need and expect. So the more you can share with us about the kind of services you’d like to have, the better we can meet your needs.

How to contact us

  • Post: FirstPort, Marlborough House, Wigmore Place, Luton, LU2 9EX
  • Email: customerrelations@firstport.co.uk