More than 200 complaints about Bristol City Council were received by the Housing Ombudsman in the space of five years, according to information obtained via a Freedom of Information request. The data shows 223 complaints were made about the council to the Ombudsman between 2016 and 2021.
This means Bristol City Council was the most complained about local authority in the South West, followed by Wiltshire (128 complaints) and Cornwall (120 complaints). However, when comparing data across the whole country, Bristol is on the 29th place, with the Housing Ombudsman receiving more than 800 complaints for each of the five top local authorities.
A spokeswoman for Online Mortgage Advisor, who obtained the figures, said: “With this study, we wanted to find out which local authorities have seen the most complaints from tenants and what kinds of complaints have been filed the most.
“Through an FOI request, we gathered the number of complaints from Housing Ombudsman between the years 2016 and 2021, and Bristol City council saw 223 complaints in total.
“Looking at the data, 383 of the complaints filed by renters across the South West were about property condition, and 64 of them were filed by tenants from Bristol. This trend was consistent across all of England, with property condition being the biggest issue for tenants (Housing Ombudsman got over 8,000 complaints).
“Landlords taking long periods of time to fix property issues, or even completely ignoring requests, can put the mental health of their tenants at risk. For example, mould and damp is known to affect your physical health, which can in turn have a negative effect on mental health.
“If speaking to your landlord doesn’t help, there are several places you get assistance, for example, turning to Citizen Advice to find out about your rights as a tenant.”
The Online Mortgage Advisor said that the Housing Ombudsman considers complaints from residents who occupy premises which are owned or managed by members of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, or applicants for such premises. Their members include housing associations, councils, other not-for-profit organisations, and a limited number of voluntary members.
The Housing Ombudsman Service is an independent and impartial dispute resolution service, it said, adding it seeks to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords who are members of the Scheme.
The figures show the Housing Ombudsman received the most complaints about three London borough local authorities. These were Lambeth (1082), Tower Hamlets (946) and Southwark (920).
They are followed by Birmingham (896). Bristol City Council was approached for comment.