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What to do if your landlord is harassing you

Find out what counts as harassment and what you can do about it.

What counts as harassment

Harassment is a criminal offence. It includes any action your landlord takes to disrupt your life or make you leave your property.

Your landlord is harassing you if they:

  • disconnect your electricity, gas or water

  • repeatedly visit the property unannounced

  • phone you at all hours

  • send intimidating text messages

  • demand money you owe them in a way that causes alarm, distress or humiliation

  • carry out building works in a way that makes life intolerable

  • disturb your peace and comfort

  • let themselves in with a key without your permission

  • take your personal possessions instead of rent

  • interfere with your post

  • treat you in a certain way because of gender, race or sexuality

If you think your landlord might be harassing you

  • keep any written communication with your landlord such as texts, emails or letters.
  • keep records of important dates and save any photos or videos.
  • write to your landlord asking them to stop the harassment.
  • if this doesn’t work, write to them that you will take legal action.
  • have someone as a witness every time you see your landlord

If your landlord is harassing you

  • if you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 101 or 999.
  • contact us using the details at the bottom of this page. We can speak to your landlord or take action against them
  • seek independent legal advice if you want to prosecute your landlord. You might be able to get free legal help from Civil Legal Advice

Taking your landlord to court

It might be better to take your landlord to civil court rather than criminal court.

Disadvantages of criminal court

Harassment is a criminal offence, but it can take time to prosecute your landlord in a criminal court.

You need to provide a witness statement describing what happened to you. You also may have to attend court to give evidence, but this will depend on whether your landlord pleads guilty or not guilty.

Benefits of criminal court

The benefits of taking your landlord to civil court are:

  • cases are heard in a few months
  • landlords usually pay are much higher damages.

Illegal eviction

Harassment becomes illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • physically removes you from the property
  • changes the locks while you’re out
  • harasses you so badly that you’re forced to leave

If your landlord wants to evict you, they must follow the legal eviction process.

If you are harassed or unlawfully evicted you can apply for a rent repayment order.

How to get advice

Answer a few short questions to get advice about your housing situation.

You can also get advice on eviction from Shelter an Citizens Advice.

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