This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Harassment

This content applies to England

Harassment of LGBT people and some of the remedies available.

Lesbians, gay men, bisexual men and women, and transgender people (LGBT) may face harassment on the grounds of both their gender and their sexuality.

Reporting incidents

Many LGBT people fear reporting incidents in case they experience further prejudice from the local authority or the police. Some local authorities have established units in the council or the police to support LGBT people in reporting and dealing with harassment, homophobia or discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Some areas also have community support projects to support LGBT people. The contact details of these projects can be obtained from local authorities.

Help and support

Councils may agree to provide help for LGBT tenants who are vulnerable as a result of harassment. This could take the form of extra security such as window locks, spy holes and door chains, transfers to other accommodation or support by regular contact, possibly through a community alarm system. Some local authorities and other registered providers of social housing are willing to evict tenants who are perpetrators of harassment on grounds of sexuality, for breach of the terms of their tenancy. Supporting evidence of the harassment will be helpful. Advisers should check whether the local authority or the registered social landlord has a harassment policy or an antisocial behaviour policy, as this may state what action the landlord should take to protect a tenant in these circumstances. It may be appropriate for the police to take action, including bringing charges against the perpetrator. See the section on Harassment and antisocial behaviour for further information.

Harassment and discrimination

Discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited and LGBT people have equal rights to housing and accommodation as any other person in the community.

By landlords

Harassment or discrimination by landlords should be dealt with under the provisions of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 (from 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010).

By a private tenant or owner-occupier

If the harassment or discrimination is being perpetrated by a private tenant or owner-occupier, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 (from 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010) offer protection to deal with the issue. The harassed/discriminated tenant may also be able to bring injunction proceedings.

See the section on Harassment and antisocial behaviour for more information on harassment, and the section on Equality law for further information on discrimination.

Back to top