Harassment by a private landlord

It is illegal for your landlord to harass you or force you to leave your home. Find out how you can deal with harassment.

What is landlord harassment?

Harassment can be any action your landlord takes to deliberately disrupt your life or make you leave your property. Harassment can also be committed by someone else, for example the landlord's family or letting agent.

Examples of harassment include:

  • cutting off your gas, electricity or water supply
  • being abusive or violent
  • opening your post or removes your belongings
  • harassing you because of your gender, race or sexuality

Your landlord could also be guilty of harassment if they enter your home without your permission or send builders in without notice or at antisocial hours.

Illegal eviction

Harassment is a criminal offence and could result in an illegal eviction. 

It could be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • forces you to leave your home
  • physically throws you out
  • changes the locks while you’re out

Find out how the council can help if you're illegally evicted.

How to deal with landlord harassment

There are steps you can take to deal with landlord harassment. These steps can also help if you decide to take legal action.

Keep records

Ask your landlord to put all communications with you in writing. Do the same yourself and keep copies. That way, you will have a record of all dealings with your landlord and of any disputes as they happen.

If you do decide to take action against your landlord, any records you keep will be useful evidence.

This could also include:

  • diary
  • notes on your calendar
  • photos
  • videos

Contact your landlord

Write to your landlord to ask them to stop the harassment. If this doesn't work, write to them saying that if the harassment continues you will take legal action.

Talk to your council

Contact a tenancy relations officer at your local council or someone with similar duties. They could speak to your landlord on your behalf or take action against them.

The council's homelessness department may help you with emergency accommodation if you're forced to leave your home because of harassment.

Report your landlord to the police

If your landlord is making you feel unsafe in your home or has threatened you with violence, report them to the police by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.

Find contact numbers for the police

Get an injunction

An injunction, sometimes called a harassment order, is a court order that requires someone to do something or stop doing something. You'll need the help of a solicitor or adviser to get one.

Legal aid is available for injunctions against landlords who harass tenants. You may be eligible for legal aid if you claim certain benefits or have a low income.

Contact Civil Legal Advice to find out if you qualify for legal aid to help you get an injunction.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone.

Last updated 27 Apr 2017 | © Shelter

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