Your rights on harassment
You have a statutory right not to be harassed by:
- your landlord
- your landlord’s’ family
- a letting agent
‘Statutory’ means it is your right as part of the civil law.
What counts as harassment?
Harassment can take many forms. It can be hard to decide if what is happening counts as harassment. The law says it is harassment if a landlord or his agent does anything to interfere with the peace or comfort of a tenant, or acts with the intention of making them leave.
It definitely counts as harassment if your landlord, their family or letting agent:
- cuts off your gas, electricity or water supply or
- opens or takes away your post or
- moves your things around or takes them away or
- is violent or threatens you with violence whether that is physical or verbal
It is against the criminal law for your landlord to be violent towards you or threaten you, to open or take your post or take any of your things.
When you do not share living space with your landlord all these things count as harassment too:
- Making threats to try and make you leave your home
- Locking you out of your home by changing the locks
- Deliberately messing with your gas, water or electricity supply
- Messing with or taking your personal things – taking your things is against the criminal law
- Refusing to let you to have friends round to visit
- Forcing you to give them your keys
- Moving things into your home that are not yours
- The landlord, agent or workmen coming into your home without your permission or without telling you about it first
- The landlord, his agent or workmen disturbing you again and again, without a good reason like a big repair or decoration job
- Asking you to sign a new tenancy agreement when that agreement has fewer rights in it than the one you have now
- Moving in themselves to live in your home, when you have a right to exclusive occupation.’ Exclusive
- occupation’ means you do not share living space with your landlord or any member of his family.
It counts as harassment if your landlord, their family or agent only does it a few times. They do not have to do something over and over again for it to count as harassment.
Other problems that might be harassment
It might also be harassment if your landlord, their family or letting agent:
- come into your home without your permission or
- send builders or workmen in without telling your first or
- send builders or workmen in at unsocial hours or
- does not do repairs in the hope that you will leave
‘Unsocial hours’ means early in the morning or late in the evening or night. But if there is an emergency and your home needs repairs urgently it is not harassment to send builders in at unsocial hours.
It is against the civil law for your landlord, their family or letting agent to harass anyone because of their protected characteristics. ‘Protected characteristics’ means your gender, race, belief or sexuality. Harassment because of these reasons is discrimination.
Landlords who harass tenants or discriminate against them sometimes do this to try to make you leave your home. It is illegal to evict you like this.
Use your knowledge about rights on harassment to sort problems out. Choose Sorting out problems below.