How to deal with harassment from landlords or agents

Get help to deal with harassment

It can be hard to deal with bad landlords or agents on your own.

Help is always available but the support you get can depend on where you live.

For example, not every council or local police force offers the same service.

But they should take you seriously when you contact them.

It helps to keep a record of what's been happening for when you speak to them.

Contact your local council

Every council has a team that deals with harassment and illegal eviction.

You can get in touch with them as soon as problems start.

In London, you can report a rogue landlord or agent on the London Assembly website. Details are passed on to your local council for investigation if you give permission.

The council must try to stop a threatened illegal eviction if it would leave you homeless.

They can also:

  • explain the law to your landlord

  • mediate around other tenancy issues

  • take steps to enforce HMO licensing rules

The council may prosecute your landlord if they continue to break the law.

When to involve the police

Tenancy related harassment is a criminal offence. But the police may not get involved and often say it's just a civil matter.

The police must come out if you call 999 in a violent or threatening situation where you're at immediate risk from your landlord or someone acting on their behalf.

The police don't usually investigate or prosecute in tenancy related harassment cases unless violent offences have been committed.

If the situation is non urgent, you can report it online or by calling 101. Ask for a reference number and what happens next.

Support from a renters union

Renters unions are locally organised groups that offer support and advice to private renters who join them. They are sometimes called tenants unions.

They can provide valuable back up if you're experiencing harassment or other tenancy problems while renting privately.

Renters unions don't exist everywhere yet but new groups are forming all the time. Most cities and large towns will have at least one local group.

Search for a local renters union on the Generation Rent website.

Find out more about how renters unions can help

Legal help from a solicitor

You may be able to apply for a court order called an injunction to stop the harassment.

A solicitor could help but you need to have strong case. It's difficult to get free legal help.

Sometimes solicitors can help under a conditional fee agreement if you're also claiming compensation. This is often described as 'no win no fee'.

Find a local law centre.

Search for a local Shelter service to see if we can help

Last updated: 29 March 2021

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