Tenant complaint procedure

 Trefor Roberts, tenant farmer at Ochr Cefn Isa Farm on the Tir Ifan Estate, Conwy Valley, North Wales

The National Trust aims to give an excellent service to all 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, 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, our response to a request by you for such a service, or the way 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 in a reasonable time or has been inadequately performed.

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

How to make a complaint

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

  • Letter
  • Email

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. 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 complaints should be directed, in the first instance, in writing to the Senior Estate Manager for your local property. You can find out who this is either from your usual Estate Manager or, if you do not know who this is, please contact the Trust’s main helpline and they will be able to tell you.

Your local Senior Estate Manager will acknowledge your complaint within 10 working days and will let you know who will be investigating the matter. It will be allocated to another Senior Estate Manager. This will be someone who does not manage any of the staff involved in the matter to date. We will aim to respond to your complaint within 15 further working days. If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within this 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 Senior Estate Manager, you can take the matter further by writing to the Regional Head of Let Estate for your region. You can send this directly by post or email. 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 Head of Let Estate within one month of receiving the formal response to your original complaint. The details of your Regional Head of Let Estate are available from your local Estate 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 Senior Estate Manager’s response to your complaint. The Regional Head of Let Estate will acknowledge your complaint within 10 working days and will let you know who will be investigating the matter. They will allocate your complaint to one of our other Regional Heads of Let Estate outside of your region. This will ensure the matter is reviewed by someone who does not manage any of the staff involved in the matter to date.

The investigating Regional Head of Let Estate will make enquiries of relevant local staff to gain a full background to the complaint 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 investigating Regional Head of Let Estate 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 one month of the formal response from the investigating Regional Head of Let Estate 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 Land and Estates Director and consists of a senior National Trust lawyer, a senior National Trust chartered surveyor, a Regional Director (from a different region) and 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 one 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 one 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.

Jon Watson National Trust farm tenant with the flock of Herdwick sheep at Yew Tree Farm


Tenants can benefit from free access to our places with a tenant pass. It is available to most of our residential, commercial and agricultural tenants.