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How to deal with landlord harassment

If you’re being harassed by your private landlord, there are steps you can take to stop it.

Harassment is against the law. The police and the council can take action against your landlord.

What counts as harassment by a landlord

Harassment is when your landlord interferes with your peace or comfort in your home. It's still harassment if someone else is doing it on your landlord’s behalf. This includes a friend or family member of the landlord, or a letting agent.

Harassment can include:

  • coming to your home without telling you first

  • entering your home without your permission

  • threatening or intimidating behaviour

  • removing or interfering with your belongings

  • cutting off gas, electricity or water supplies

  • demanding money that you do not owe or cannot pay

  • pressuring you to move out instead of following the correct eviction process

What counts as discrimination

It can be discrimination if your landlord harasses you because of things like your disability, race, religion, sex or gender.

Check our guidance on how to deal with discrimination by a landlord.

Harassment about rent arrears

If you have rent arrears, your landlord can contact you and ask you to pay. They can send you a letter saying they will take legal action if you do not pay.

They must not pressure you to pay or come to your home to demand money. This is harassment.

If you’re struggling to pay rent, check our guidance on dealing with rent arrears.

Coming to your home

Your landlord cannot enter your home without your permission.

If your landlord needs to enter your home, they must give you prior warning before coming round. They must give you at least 24 hours notice, or 48 hours if you have a private residential tenancy.

Your landlord can give you shorter notice if there’s an emergency, but only if you agree.

If they come to your home without notice, or enter without your permission, this is harassment.

Forcing you to move out

Your landlord must follow a strict legal process if they want to evict you. They must give you the correct eviction notice in writing.

If they pressure you to move out, this is harassment. It could also be an illegal eviction. Check our guidance on being forced out of your home.

What to do if you’re being harassed

Gather any evidence you have, such as texts or emails. Keep a diary of times your landlord harasses you, so you have a record of what they do. Evidence will help if you report them to the council or the police.

Step 1: speak to your landlord if you feel able to

Explain how their behaviour makes you feel. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be with you for support.

Only do this if you feel safe doing so. Never put yourself in danger by confronting someone who is harassing you.

Step 2: write to your landlord

Tell them what behaviour you want them to stop, and say that it’s harassment. Explain the effect it’s having on you.

Use our letter template to deal with landlord harassment. You can use this to send a text, email or letter to your landlord.

If you're being harassed by a letting agent make a complaint to them. Check our guidance on letting agent complaints.

Step 3: report your landlord to the council

Your landlord must be registered with the council. If your landlord is harassing tenants, the council can investigate and order your landlord to change their behaviour.

In very serious cases, the council can remove your landlord from the landlord register.

Check our guidance on your landlord’s registration responsibilities.

Step 4: contact the police

Harassment is a crime. If you feel able to, contact the police.

If you're in danger, call 999. If you’re reporting something that happened before or you’re worried could happen later, call them on 101.

If you need advice or support before speaking to the police, contact Victim Support Scotland.

Taking legal action against your landlord for harassment

You can ask the court to order a person to stop harassing you. Court orders that stop a person from behaving in a certain way include interdicts and non-harassment orders.

You’ll need a solicitor to get a court order. Use the Law Society of Scotland website to find a solicitor. You could get legal help for free or at a lower cost.

If you want compensation because of harassment, a solicitor can help you claim.

Moving out to escape harassment

If you decide to move out to stop your landlord harassing you, make sure you end your tenancy correctly. Check our guidance on finding a new place to live.

If you're unsafe in your home and have nowhere to go, the council must help you. You do not have to be living on the streets to be homeless. Check our guidance on making a homeless application.

Last updated: 13 April 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England