Community Housing Tenant Complaint Process
Queen’s Community Housing expects that in the normal course of business, there will be occasions where tenants do not feel that they have received adequate services, or that there are other issues that should be further addressed. These circumstances are to be expected in a service delivery business. Community Housing will endeavor to meet and exceed the standards of service delivery and to respond to tenants promptly where concerns have been raised.
The tenant complaint process is not intended to replace the normal interactions that will occur between tenants and staff, and is not intended to be used prior to an issue first being raised through normal channels. This means for example, that when a tenant has a request for maintenance that this request is addressed through regular channels. If the maintenance request is not resolved within a reasonable amount of time, or the request has been rejected, the tenant should address this with staff. If there is no resolution and the tenant feels this is an unreasonable response on the part of Community Housing staff, the complaint would then be directed to the Associate Director (Community Housing & Facilities).
It is important to note that the Landlord Tenant Board’s rulings are paramount. This process can be intuited in advance of a complaint to the LTB but cannot be used to overturn rulings of that body.
The Associate Director is responsible and accountable for ensuring the overall success of the Community Housing department. The Associate Director also has the authority and ability to decide the best solution for each circumstance. If the tenant feels that the decision of the Associate Director is an unreasonable response on the part of Community Housing, they can appeal that decision to the Executive Director, Housing & Hospitality Services, as per the process outlined below.
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Queen’s Community Housing expects that in the course of delivering services to tenants there will be complaints made about these services or about the manner in which the services were delivered. Queen’s Community Housing is committed to establishing processes to ensure these complaints are heard, the facts of the complaint established, and where required, that remedial actions are undertaken.
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- Provide a simple process which is accessible to all;
- Provide a method for resolution of complaints about Queen’s Community Housing services;
- Provide a mechanism for review of management decisions that tenants do not feel are reasonable, as per requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act;
- Ensure that all complaints are resolved in a timely fashion;
- Track and resolve complaints;
- Use the resolution of complaints as learning in the development of future policies and practices; and,
- Create a process that supports the normal management structures of Queen’s Community Housing and respects the authority and accountability of Queen’s Community Housing front-line managers.
Defining a tenant complaint is not difficult. Any event or action that leads to tenant dissatisfaction is the basis for complaints. More complicated, is defining when a routine matter becomes a complaint for the purposes of the tenant complaint process. For the purposes of this process, complaints are generally defined as:
- Requests for maintenance to which Queen’s Community Housing staff has not responded in a timely fashion (within standards set by Queen’s Community Housing);
- Actions on tenancy-related matters to which Queen’s Community Housing staff has not responded in a timely fashion (within standards set by Queen’s Community Housing); and,
- Events and/or issues that may be an infringement of tenant rights under legislation or Queen’s Community Housing policies governing the conduct of staff and tenant representatives, human rights and harassment.
APPLICATION OF THIS PROCESS
The tenant complaint process applies to all Queen’s Community Housing tenants. In all cases, however, tenants should seek to resolve issues with the Office of Community Housing first. Only when all attempts to resolve issues with Community Housing are exhausted should these tenants seek remedies as outlined in this process.
- Queen’s Community Housing is responsible for ensuring that tenants have the ability to raise a complaint through an open and accessible process and to have it addressed in a timely manner.
- Tenants have the right to quality property management services.
- Staff with the Office of Community Housing, should have the opportunity to address a complaint about a service/decision they have applied.
- Tenants have the right to appeal a decision made by the Associate Director.
- Tenants have the right to timely resolution of their complaint/appeal.
- Tenants and staff will be informed of the process and the outcome of the complaint/appeal.
- Complaints and complaint resolution will be tracked and reported on.
- A communication and education program will be implemented to ensure that all tenants and all staff are informed of their rights and responsibilities under this process.
- Queen’s Community Housing will implement a standard issue tracking system for use by all staff in the winter of 2013.
- Queen’s Community Housing will introduce a tenant inquiry complaint e-mail link for receipt of complaints.
- A review of complaints and resolution will be included at regularly scheduled meetings of the Community Housing Board.
- Ongoing monitoring on follow-up of complaints and analysis will be used to identify training and communication opportunities.
- Resolution of complaints will be used as learning in the development of future policies and practices.
The tenant complaint process will be reviewed on an on-going basis during the first 18 months to determine if outcomes are being achieved.
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TENANT COMPLAINT PROCESS
- Once the standard channels described elsewhere in this policy have been exhausted, the tenant should, using the e-mail link on the Community Housing site, send a note outlining the nature and/or grounds for the compliant (Residential Tenancy Act, property standards, etc.) in as much detail as possible, the proposed resolution (i.e. their desired outcome) as well as the steps taken to resolve the complaint thus far.
- The tenant will receive an e-mail confirmation and a case number.
- Once there is confirmation that all regular channels have been exhausted, The Executive Director (Housing & Hospitality Services) will confirm that a review of the complaint will take place.
- A copy of the complaint will be sent to the Office of the Vice-Provost & Dean of Student Affairs to ensure the compliant has the proper oversight. The Executive Director will keep that office informed of the progress towards resolution
- The tenant will receive a response within 10 working days of receipt.