Tenant complaint procedure

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The National Trust aims to give an excellent service to all of its tenants. We recognise, however, that from time to time things can go wrong, and when this happens we want to try to put them right as quickly as possible. We value complaints as an opportunity to learn and continually improve our service.

What is a complaint?

In our view a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of your relationship with the National Trust. For example, with regard to your tenancy this may be dissatisfaction with the standard of service you have received from the Trust where the terms of your tenancy require the Trust to provide that service, or our response to a request by you for such a service, or the manner in which the Trust has behaved.

The Trust will not treat your first request for a service (such as a repair) as a complaint. It will only be treated as a complaint if the service you have requested has not been performed or has been inadequately performed.

Complaints do need to be raised within a reasonable time scale. We recommend that complaints are as quickly as possible and certainly within six months of the incident.

How to make a complaint

If you wish to make a complaint you may do so by any of the following methods:

  • Letter
  • Email
  • In person

You should set out your complaint clearly. You may, if you prefer, ask a family member or friend to help and you can do this at any stage of the complaints procedure.

The Complaints Process

The National Trust aims to resolve all complaints as quickly as possible, nevertheless some complaints may be complex and require a significant amount of time to thoroughly investigate and resolve. However, we will keep you informed of the progress being made with your complaint all the way through the process.

This process will be reviewed and updated when appropriate.

Step 1

We will do our very best to resolve any complaint at the earliest opportunity. All tenants are linked to a local National Trust Property which is the responsibility of a General Manager. They have considerable authority at a local level and should be able to resolve the vast majority of complaints.

All complaints should be directed, in the first instance, to the General Manager of your local property, the details of which should be in your Tenant’s welcome pack. If you do not know which is your local property, please contact the Trust’s main helpline and they will be able to tell you.

Once your complaint is received it will be acknowledged, in writing, within 10 working days. The Trust will aim to have a full response to your complaint within 15 further working days. If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within this time period, we will write to you and explain that this is the case and give you an idea of the likely date by which we will have investigated your complaint.

Step 2

If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint by the General Manager then you can take the matter further by writing to your local National Trust Regional Director.  You can send this directly by post, or e-mail. You can also have someone else (e.g. an advice worker, solicitor, friend or relative) make the complaint on your behalf. You need to write to the Regional Director within 1 month of receiving the formal response to your original complaint from the General Manager. The details of your local Regional Director will be given to you by the General Manager.

It is important that you provide as much detail as possible at this stage and explain exactly why you are not happy with the General Manager’s response to your complaint. The Regional Director will acknowledge your complaint within 10 working days and will inform you which of their senior staff they have allocated to deal with your complaint. This senior member of staff will review both your complaint and the previous investigation and will respond to you within a further 15 working days wherever possible.

If the investigation is likely to take longer, you will be advised of this and given a date by which the Trust will be in a position to respond fully to your complaint. If, the Regional Director believes the matter could potentially be resolved by mediation they can (provided you are willing) refer the matter to mediation to enable us to find an amicable resolution

Step 3

If, following the outcome of this latest investigation or if mediation is not successful and you remain dissatisfied, you must notify our Chairman in writing within 1 month of the formal response from the Regional Director or the conclusion of the mediation process. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 10 working days.

The Chairman may refer your complaint to a central panel. The panel is chaired by the Rural Enterprise Director and consists of a senior National Trust lawyer, a senior National Trust chartered surveyor, a Regional Director (from a different region) and a an external professional expert selected on a case by case basis.

The panel will review your complaint and the previous investigations into your complaint, within 1 month of having received it from the Chairman. You will have the opportunity to submit any written evidence which you would like to  submit before they consider the matter.

Once the panel has fully investigated your complaint, they will brief the Chairman who will make a final decision in respect of your complaint. If we are unable to respond to you within 1 month of the matter being referred to the panel, we will write to you with an explanation and give a date by which the investigation into your complaint will be completed.

Legal or Insurance Claims

If your complaint relates to something which might lead to a legal claim against us or a claim on our insurance policy it may be dealt with outside of this complaints process by one of our legal advisors or our insurers.

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Tenant Custodian Membership 

Our tenants can now take advantage of free days out thanks to a new type of free membership aimed especially at tenants. The membership includes many of the perks of standard membership, but has some differences.