Complaints Procedure

We are confident that you should have a trouble-free stay whilst living in one of our properties, however, we know that sometimes, things can go wrong. In the unlikely event that this may happen, we should be given the opportunity to put it right.

Our official internal complaints procedure has 3 Steps. We have put together some information that will hopefully help to direct you to the right place in the event of you not being happy to assist with attempting a speedy resolution for you. If in the unlikely event matters cannot be resolved between ourselves, Step 4 may offer additional support and advice with other external organisations.

It is recommended that all matters surrounding general maintenance repair requests in their initial stages should always be put in writing / online. Our staff are very committed to their work and to providing excellent customer service, however, by having a written record, not only does this protect you as our customers, it also protects us too.

Please see ‘How long should I wait before I make a complaint?’ and some example questions at the end of this document regarding our good practice repair timeframes.

 

WHO CAN COMPLAINT TO US?

Concerns and complaints can be raised by current tenants and ex tenants who used to live with us. To avoid confusion, duplication and potential delays, it is encouraged that we liaise with one person, a lead tenant ideally, to allow us to resolve the issue effectively – we appreciate, however, that sometimes this may be difficult to do.

Parents, Guardians and Guarantors for example, can also act on behalf of any tenants, however, before they do so, they must ensure that they have written permission from the tenant which must be supplied at the time of raising the complaint.

We understand that sometimes local residents or neighbours living next door to, or living within close proximity of any of our properties may have concerns, and therefore, the same guidelines for making a complaint will apply.

 

BEFORE MAKING ANY COMPLAINTS...

Please treat our staff with respect. Our staff welfare is extremely important to us and whilst you may be a little upset, they are here to help you resolve your concerns.

Our staff have a right to work in a safe environment and we will not tolerate inappropriate language and threats of violence, physical aggression, personal or verbal abuse towards any of our staff by our customers or other members of the public.

Should this happen, we, Pickard Properties reserves the right to take further action against anyone acting inappropriately towards members of our team. Anyone behaving in such a way, will be asked to leave the premises and/ or telephone calls may be terminated. Their behaviour could result in future services being denied and may result in their actions also being reported to the police.

 

‘WHAT IF I'M NOT HAPPY?’  (STEP 1)

As soon as you become aware of your concerns, at this stage your complaint can be verbal (but polite) or written. You can initially contact your dedicated Portfolio Manager or a member of our team, either way, they will be happy to assist. You can do this by initially contacting us by telephone on 0113 2746642.

If your concerns raised are as a result of a general maintenance repair, and it is the first time that it has been brought to our attention – you must make sure that the repair has been logged via email/ online and allow us a reasonable amount of time to process the repair request.

You will need to provide an accurate account of your concerns raised, which could relate to maintenance issues or perhaps it could be regarding a general issue surrounding your tenancy – this is why putting it in writing to support your concerns is very useful, to ensure that important details are not missed by either party.

Depending on the complexity of your complaint, we may ask for any evidence that may demonstrate the issue. When it comes to asking for evidence, we will ask you to provide photographs, copies of correspondence or details of telephone calls – with confirmation of dates, times and names of members of staff you have spoken to. You will be asked to provide copies of any receipts or invoices that you may be seeking reimbursement for as a result of your complaint or concerns.

We request for you to allow our team enough time to investigate, assess the situation and find an appropriate resolution before we respond. We will acknowledge any written correspondence (via email or letter) within 5 working days and aim to provide a response to your complaint or concerns within 15 working days from receipt of any written correspondence. Complex cases may take a little longer and we will endeavour to keep you notified of progress and reasons for any delay. We appreciate that we live in a fast-paced world and you are eager for an urgent response to your concerns, however, we would respectfully ask for you to avoid sending us ‘chase ups’ after 2-3 days.

If you have not received any acknowledgement, update or a response within these timescales, please do get in touch for a progress update.

If you are raising a complaint quite a while after an incident took place, we will aim to resolve this, much quicker than it took for you to bring the matter to our attention.

We are confident that your concerns will be addressed satisfactorily at this Stage, however, if you are still unhappy, the matter would then be escalated to a senior member of the team. Please refer to ‘But I’m still not happy…’ (Step 2)

 

‘BUT I'M STILL NOT HAPPY...' (STEP 2)

If the matter cannot be resolved by a quick and simple telephone call or if you are unhappy about a response you receive following your initial communication, or if feel that the complaint warrants further investigation then you must put your complaint in writing to the member of staff who has managerial responsibility for the area or service that you are complaining about, ensuring that you have provided all evidence to support the issue, as we will not be able proceed the case without it.

All factors of the matter will be considered - using current regulations, standards and general industry good practice. Please email the relevant staff member for further support:

E-Mail addresses of senior staff:

charlotte@pickardproperties.co.uk – Miss. Charlotte Renny - Professional Lettings Manager

david@pickardproperties.co.uk        – Mr. David Walshe - Senior Student Portfolio Manager

At this stage, in the unlikely event that the complaint refers to a member of staff involved rather than a contractual or maintenance matter, you can email/ write to:

sarah@pickardproperties.co.uk – Mrs. Sarah Powell - Head of Residential Lettings/ All areas

You can write to us at:

Pickard Properties
26-30 North Lane
Headingley
Leeds
LS6 3HE

Envelopes should be addressed to the relevant staff member, however, if the complaint relates to a member of staff, the envelope should be marked ‘Private and confidential’ to avoid the envelope being opened by general staff members.

In the event that your concerns have not been addresses satisfactorily at this stage. This matter can be escalated further within Pickard Properties. Please refer to ‘Can someone else look at my complaint’ (Step 3)

 

‘CAN SOMEONE ELSE LOOK AT MY COMPLAINT?’ (STEP 3)

We would be very surprised and upset if your complaint should reach this stage, however, we are aware that sometimes there maybe complex matters that may need to be carefully reviewed.

All correspondence and evidence will be reviewed, and the details of your complaint and your suggestions as to how you feel it should be resolved should be provided by you, if of course you haven’t already done so.

Acknowledgement of the escalated complaint will be made within 5 working days. We aim to provide a full response to the case within 28 days. Complex matters can take longer particularly if all relevant details and evidence has not been provided. We will aim to provide regular/ interim updates.

Throughout any complex matters, our Directors Simon, Miles and Catherine are consulted. If correspondence is sent direct to the Directors, they may not respond themselves. There are no time limits for responses when sending correspondence to the Directors.

 

E-Mail addresses of senior staff relating to Student Accomodation:

nichola@pickardproperties.co.uk      – Mrs. Nichola Chadwick – Student Lettings Manager

E-Mail addresses of Higher Management:

sarah@pickardproperties.co.uk        – Mrs. Sarah Powell - Head of Residential Lettings/ All areas

denise@pickardproperties.co.uk       – Mrs. Denise McArdle – Head of Development & Marketing

 

Directors:

Mr. Miles Pickard

Mr. Simon Pickard

Mrs. Catherine Coleman

 

In the event that your concerns have not been addressed satisfactorily you can seek further advices through other external organisations. Please refer to ‘Where else can I go…I’m still not satisfied?’ (Step 4)

 

‘WHERE ELSE CAN I GO?…I’M STILL NOT SATISFIED’ (STEP 4)

If having followed the 3 Steps of our complaints procedure you still remain dissatisfied and unhappy, depending on the nature of your complaint, you can ask to have your complaint reviewed externally by someone who does not work for Pickard Properties.

Please note, at this stage the response times will depend on those set by the organisation where you have raised/ escalated your complaint to for further advice.

 

UNIPOL STUDENT HOMES

Unipol is a charity supporting the student community living in Leeds. If you are a student tenant and you feel that you may need more support regarding a complaint, Unipol is a good option for further impartial advice.

We have achieved Golden Owner status with Unipol, and have agreed to follow their Code of Standards. A copy of the Code can be obtained from us, or directly from Unipol from their website, which should hopefully provide further advice too:  https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain

If you have any reason to believe that Pickard Properties has not upheld any part of the standards outlined within the Code, and/or you are not satisfied with the response given by Pickard Properties, you can, of course, present your case direct to Unipol at:

Unipol Student Homes
155-157 Woodhouse Lane
Leeds
LS2 3ED
 

Tel: 0113 2430169

 

STUDENT ADVICE CENTRE – Leeds University Union

Alternatively, as a student you can visit the Student Advice Centre at Leeds University Union https://www.luu.org.uk/student-help-support/, which offers guidance and support when you feel that you cannot speak with any of the above.

Head to the Union Foyer or the Advice Office and find a member of the Help and Support team (look out for people in teal blue t-shirts) – No appointments necessary.

 

Tel: 0113 3801 400

Email: advice @luu.leeds.ac.uk

Leeds Beckett Student Union - LBSU

As a student of Leeds Beckett University, you can have a look on their website https://www.leedsbeckettsu.co.uk/contact or contact them for further advice or support at:

Tel: 0113 812 8400

Email: su-heldesk@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

On social media: @leedsbeckettsu

In person at…

City Campus:

First Floor
Portland Building
Portland Way
Leeds
LS1 3HE

Headingley Campus:

Campus Central
Church Wood Avenue
Headingley
Leeds
LS6 3HJ

 

 

Leeds Trinity University Student Union – LTSU

The Students’ Union offers a student advice service providing confidential support on mental health, general wellbeing, housing and academic-related issues.

Whatever the problem, the advice team can discuss your options with you and help you to identify your next steps. Visit their website for further information https://www.ltsu.co.uk/

Email: student.union@leedstrinity.ac.uk

 

THE LEEDS RENTAL STANDARD / Leeds City Council

The Leeds Rental Standard provides a guarantee to tenants of a minimum standard for privately rented accommodation. Accreditation through this scheme, is for us, being members of Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and Unipol, and recognises that we offer a quality service and demonstrate good skills in tenancy and property management.

If things go wrong, that we have not been able to address and resolve through our own in-house complaints procedure, all tenants – both student and professional, can have access to a robust complaints process. Unipol operate a centralised complaints system which will seek to provide the tenant with a resolution to their problem. Unipol can be contacted here:

Unipol
155-157 Woodhouse Lane
Leeds LS2 3ED
 

Tel: 0113 2430169

Website: http://www.leedsrentalstandard.org.uk/tenantsarea

 

PROPERTY REDRESS SCHEME

We are members of the Property Redress Scheme. Should you unfortunately find that you have a complaint about our services or standards that we have not been able to address and resolve through our own in-house complaints procedure, you can contact the following for further advice:

 

Property Redress Scheme

Premiere House

1st Floor

Elstree Way

Borehamwood

Hertfordshire

WD6 1JH

 

Tel: 0333 3219418

 Email: info@theprs.co.uk

 

 Pickard Properties membership number: PRS001408

 

DEPOSIT DISPUTES

Deposit returns and any related disputes are handled by our Deposit Team. Correspondence with any supporting evidence can be emailed to – deposits@pickardproperties.co.uk

If after exhausting our complaints procedure in relation to your Deposit you feel that the complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved, then you can lodge a dispute with the Dispute Service.  Information about the service and the procedure and online form to lodge a dispute can be found at www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/

You will need to quote your Tenancy Deposit Scheme tenant reference number.

 

‘HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT?’

Please note, if at Step 1 or Step 2, you initially write direct to members of Higher Management or a Director of the Company, this will be directed to the relevant members of the team for them to investigate and they will respond to you. There are no time limits for responses when sending correspondence direct to the Directors.

If you have not received any acknowledgement, update or a response within these timescales, please do get in touch for a progress update.

Following any stage of the procedure, a complainant has a maximum of 28 days from the date of the final response to request that their complaint be progressed to the next step.

STEP 1

Initial acknowledgement within 5 working days

Full response within 15 working days from receipt of any written correspondence relating to the complaint.

Complex cases may take a little longer and we will endeavour to keep you notified of progress and reasons for any delay.

We are confident that your concerns will be addressed satisfactorily at this stage, however, if you are still unhappy, the matter can be escalated to a senior member of the team.

 

STEP 2

Initial acknowledgement within 5 working days

Full response within 15 working days from receipt of any written correspondence relating to the complaint.

Complex cases may take a little longer and we will endeavour to keep you notified of progress and reasons for any delay.

In the event that your concerns have not been addresses satisfactorily at this stage. This matter can be escalated further within Pickard Properties.

STEP 3

Initial acknowledgement within 5 working days.

Full response within 28 working days from receipt of any written correspondence referring to the escalated complaint. Directors will be consulted.

Further delays may be inevitable if all documentation and evidence has not been provided. Complex cases may take a little longer and we will endeavour to keep you notified of progress and reasons for any delay. At this stage, we would consider the matter to have been resolved and finalised satisfactory.

STEP 4

Timeframes will depend on those set by the organisation where you have raised/ escalated your complaint to for further advice.

Extending Time Limits

We aim to complete all complaints within the timescales above; however, if a complaint is very complex it may occasionally be necessary to extend the time limit. If this is the case, we will keep the complainant informed of progress with the investigation, the reasons for the delay, and any new deadline.

If a complaint has been raised quite a while after an incident took place, perhaps as an ex tenant for example, we will aim to resolve this, much quicker than it took for you to bring the matter to our attention.

 

‘HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT BEFORE I MAKE A COMPLAINT?’

As a guide, before we should expect to see any complaints regarding maintenance repairs, we should be given the opportunity to undertake reported repairs, within the timeframes set by bodies such as Unipol and Leeds City Council. These are outlined below:

Priority One

 

Priority Two

 

Priority Three

 

Any repairs required in order to avoid a danger to health, risk to the safety of residents or serious damage to buildings or residents belongings. Response within 24 hours of reporting the problem.

 

Example – gas leak, fire, flood, only toilet not working

Repairs or defects which materially affect the comfort or convenience of the residents. Within 5 working days of the report of the defect.

Office opening days are Monday to Friday.

 

Example – no hot water,

no heating

Reactive repairs not falling within the above categories. Within 28 days of report of the defect.

 

Example –broken cupboard doors, vacuum cleaner not working, painting

If we have failed to, or been unable to perform a repair within the desired timeframes and we have not provided clear advices as to the reasons for the delay, then of course, we would expect for you to be a little upset and want answers. In the majority of cases, these should reach a satisfactory resolve at Step 1.

 

Updated February 2020

Pickard Properties Ltd

26-30 North Lane
Headingley
Leeds
LS6 3HE