You have a right to enjoy your home safely and peacefully. If you feel that you are being harassed, seek help and advice about how to protect your rights.
My landlord is harassing me
Harassment is any act carried out by a landlord (or someone acting for your landlord) intended to stop you living peacefully in your home.
Your landlord is harassing you if he/she tries to force you to move out without following the proper eviction procedure, which is giving you at least 28 days' notice to quit in writing and a court order.
In other cases, your landlord may try to make life so uncomfortable for you that you decide to leave voluntarily. He/she does this by:
- threatening you,
- entering or getting others (builders) to enter your home without permission,
- allowing your home to fall into disrepair,
- leaving building works unfinished,
- insisting that you sign agreements which reduce your rights.
You may experience harassment because of your race, gender, sexuality or religion, or for no apparent reason at all. Your landlord could be guilty of a criminal offence if he/she is harassing you.
What can I do if I'm being harassed?
Don't wait until the harassment is obvious or intentional before acting. You can:
- ask your landlord to stop,
- keep evidence of what happens,
- go to an advice centre for help,
- ask your landlord to put all communication with you in writing,
- write to the landlord saying that if the harassment continues you will take legal action.
If you are still having problems and if you find yourself locked out, you can report the situation to the Environmental Health Department of your local council.
You may want to contact the police if you have been threatened with violence or if the Environmental Health Department isn't able to help immediately. However, the police may be unaware of your rights. If possible, get a letter from an advice centre setting out your rights.
You should contact the Housing Executive if you think you will have to leave your home. The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice and information on preventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland. If you decide to challenge harassment, take precautions as your actions can make the landlord start eviction procedures and cause you to lose your home.