Dealing with landlord harassment
- going round and shouting and swearing
- coming into the property without asking first
- cutting off the services, such as gas and electricity
What should you do about it? Here are a few general tips.
1. Keep a record of events
If you are going to complain about the harassment you need to be in a position to say exactly what happened. Remember, memories fade. After every incident, you should go and write down what happened, and date it and sign it at the bottom. It will then be a ‘contemporaneous record’ which you can use in court if necessary. If there are a lot of events, keep a diary.
If you are a member of Landlord Law, we have a ‘diary sheet’ you can use to record specific incidents.
2. Write to your landlord about it
The first thing with any complaint is always to make a formal complaint in writing. You need to have shown that you have asked the landlord to stop the harassment and that he has failed to do so.
3. Contact the tenancy relations or housing officer at your local authority
Part of their job is to help people in your position. They can write or visit your landlord for you and perhaps bring a prosecution in the courts.
4. Consider bringing court proceedings
This is only for the most extreme situations, where you will be claiming for an injunction ordering the landlord to stop the harassment, and for compensation. Court claims are complex and (if you use solicitors) expensive, unless you are able to find a firm willing to act on a no win no fee basis. It will also take a long time, as court cases, particularly if they are complex, are often excruciatingly slow. However good results can sometimes be obtained.
5. Consider whether the landlord is justified.
Strictly speaking nothing can justify harassment, particularly the more serious kinds. However everything has a reason. If your landlord is a pensioner whose only income is your rent, and you stop paying, he is bound to be a bit upset about it.
If there is something in your behaviour which is causing the landlord to act in a way which you consider to be harassment, you should try to act in a responsible way and see if you can reach some sort of agreement. He may be coming round and shouting because you refuse to talk to him.
What is your experience with landlord harassment? Were you able to resolve the problem by any of the methods discussed above?
Note – read more in this Landlord Law article on harassment.
See more help for tenants on Landlord Law.