Dealing with harassment
Harassment takes many forms, including violence, threats, abuse, and damage to property. It can involve verbal abuse and name calling, offensive graffiti or post. It may cause physical injury, mental stress, anxiety, or insecurity.
If you are being harassed
All incidents of harassment should be reported to us. Where possible, a tenancy enforcement officer will interview you within one working day. They will arrange the interview to suit your needs as much as possible, for example, in your language or using a signer, or by arranging wheelchair access.
At the interview, the officer will ask for details of the incident(s) and will agree with you what action to take.
This may include:
- extra security to your home
- a community alarm, so that you can get help if you need it
- arranging for you to get more support
- taking action against the person responsible – they may have broken the terms of their tenancy agreement or lease
- re-housing, although only in the most serious cases, where it is necessary to protect you and your family.
Your tenancy enforcement officer will also tell you about other organisations or agencies which can give you help and support in dealing with the harassment. With your permission, they will pass on your details after the interview.
Sexual harassment may involve physical assault, verbal abuse or threats, damage to property or continual and unwanted sexual advances. It may come from someone you know, a partner or ex-partner, or from a stranger.
Report any case of sexual harassment to your housing officer, particularly if there has been violence, or you feel at risk from possible violence. You can ask to speak to a housing officer of the same sex or race if you wish.
Racial harassment is hostility towards people because of their colour or ethnic origin. It includes:
- physical assault
- verbal abuse
- name calling
- damage to property
- racist graffiti
- racist letters or posters.
Don't confuse racial harassment with quarrels with neighbours. Report any racial harassment to your housing officer as soon as possible. You can speak to a housing officer of the same race if you wish.
Harassment because of religious belief
Our tenants are of many cultures and faiths. All tenants must feel free to follow the faith they choose without being harassed.
Harassment of the elderly
Many of our tenants are elderly. They make a valuable contribution to the community. The elderly often live alone and can easily be made to feel insecure.
Harassment of people who are physically or mentally disabled
People who are disabled have every right to be treated in exactly the same way as all other tenants. Many of these tenants are classed as 'vulnerable' in housing law and we have a duty to protect their interests.
Harassment of people with AIDS or who are HIV positive
Some of our tenants have AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or have been told they are HIV positive (that is, they may develop AIDS or illnesses associated with AIDS at some time). In both cases, they are not a health risk to any other person except through direct sexual contact.
We treat tenants who have AIDS as disabled. Harassment of people who are HIV positive or have AIDS is unacceptable. We employ a liaison officer to advise those with AIDS or who are HIV positive.
Harassment of LGBTQ+ individuals
Individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning) and others (LGBTQ+) have the same rights to live free from harassment as other tenants. Harassment of LGBTQ+ tenants because of their sexuality is not acceptable.
Harassment of those living with you
Under your tenancy conditions, you must not harass any person with a right to live in your home, to make them leave the property or look for somewhere else to live. If you are violent, or threaten violence, towards your partner and they have to leave the home, we will go to court to evict you.
We will encourage any victim of domestic violence to report the matter to the police. Their investigation may lead to prosecution.
Harassment of staff or our representatives
You, or members of your household, or visitors invited to you home, must not threaten violence or be violent towards council staff or our representatives. We will apply to the court for an injunction and ultimately we may evict you.
Homelessness and harassment
If you apply to us as homeless because of harassment, we may ask you to give up your tenancy. However, we will not be able to guarantee that you will get a new tenancy, and in most cases will provide temporary accommodation only for a limited period. If you think you may be in danger in your home, contact your housing officer.
If you have to leave your property because your partner has been violent towards you, or has threatened you with violence, we can go to court to evict your partner.
Arguments between neighbours often start from small things but then get out of hand and become serious. Report harassment or nuisance to us.
Mediation may help with day-to-day arguments and disagreements. Ideally, both sides of the dispute must agree to take part in the mediation.