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Discrimination and harassment against LGBT people

The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 provides protection to residential occupiers from harassment by their landlord and others. In addition, the Equality Act 2010 afford rights to persons not to be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

This content applies to Scotland

Discrimination and harassment

Under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, 'harassment' is defined as something which is 'likely to interfere with the peace or comfort' of the residential occupier or members of her/his household'.[1]

In addition, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 may enable individuals to prevent harassment by their landlord or their neighbours, although the intention of the Act was to deal with stalking. Both Acts contain both civil and criminal remedies. It is also worth noting that harassment is one of the ways in which a person can be homeless on the ground that it is 'unreasonable to continue to occupy' her/his property.

A local authority landlord has the power to take action against one of its tenants who is committing antisocial behaviour towards another tenant. If it does not, the affected tenant may be able to take action against the local authority landlord. A human rights issue may arise if there is evidence that harassment of lesbians or gay men is not dealt with in the same way as harassment of members of another group.

It unlawful to treat someone less favourably on the grounds of sexual orientation. [2] The Equality Act 2010 provides protection and rights to lesbians and gay men who have been subject to harassment, where there is evidence to imply they would have been treated differently in terms of remedying and investigating the harassment if it was not for their sexual orientation.[3]

Any practice that would be likely to result in discriminatory behaviour resulting from a person's sexual orientation is unlawful. [4] In this case, procedures for investigating and remedying harassment could be categorised as such practices.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to provide advice and representation to someone who has been discriminated against on account of their sexuality.

For further information on the law on harassment from landlords and others in the form of antisocial behaviour, please see the section on harassment and antisocial behaviour.

Last updated: 11 December 2019


  • [1]

    s.22(2) Rent (Scotland) Act 1984

  • [2]

    s.12 The Equality Act 2010

  • [3]

    s. 26 The Equality Act 2010

  • [4]

    s.19 The Equality Act 2010