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Harassment

Harassment can make your housing situation very difficult. There are different types of harassment, and this section offers you advice and contacts for help in dealing with it.

Council tenant advice

Relationship breakdown and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is the abuse of one partner within an intimate or family relationship. It is the repeated physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse by a person known to you, usually your partner or ex-partner or family member.

It is one person exerting systematic abusive power and control over another.

Relationship breakdown is one of the three main reasons in Wiltshire for people needing housing advice or becoming homeless. Our Housing Options team will be able to offer you the appropriate housing advice relating to your personal circumstances.

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Domestic abuse affects all kinds of people: it is not confined to any social class, ethnic origin or particular age. Although men, too, experience domestic abuse, women are more likely to experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

Domestic abuse has profound physical, social and psychological effects on those who experience it. However, these effects vary according to the types of abuse to which a woman or man is exposed and on the quality and consistency of the support she/he has.

For some, escaping domestic abuse will involve leaving the family home and relocating to another area away from family and friends. Wiltshire Council recognises that some victims of domestic abuse choose to relocate to another area: however, there are some who would prefer to remain in their homes with support and help from other agencies. Wiltshire Council’s Sanctuary Scheme has been developed and aims to prevent homelessness by making it possible for victims to remain in their homes, if they wish to do so.

If you are suffering from domestic abuse and need some housing advice, please contact your local housing options team who will be able to offer you help and assistance and discuss what housing options are available which may include the sanctuary scheme.

You may also wish to access support provided by Women’s Aid, which includes a free phone 24 hour helpline or the free phone Men's advice line.

For more general information about domestic abuse, and the support available to you, please visit Wiltshire Council’s Community Safety Partnership

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If you are a council tenant, you can report domestic abuse to your local Neighbourhood Manager. The Council treats domestic abuse as a serious breach of tenancy conditions and has a range of measures at its disposal for dealing with it. If you are not ready to formally report domestic abuse, you can also talk to your local Neighbourhood Manager about the options available to you, or you can contact the support services listed on the main domestic abuse webpages for help and advice.

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Wiltshire Council’s Community Safety Partnership has a range of information and links available to provide help and support. Please look at their domestic abuse webpages for more information.

Housing services will do everything we can to help you stay in your home - offering advice, support and a sensitive, confidential service. We can also put you in touch with other people who can help and support you, such as SPLITZ  . We can also help you to contact a local, sympathetic solicitor to obtain legal advice on your situation. We will take action wherever possible to evict any tenant who is violent.


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If you require general housing advice about the options available to you in the case of domestic abuse, please contact our Housing Options teams who can offer confidential, professional advice and support.

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Hate crime

Wiltshire Council Housing Management takes all reports of hate crime or harassment by or against council tenants extremely seriously and will investigate these as a matter of priority.

Hate crime is a serious offence in which a person or persons are persecuted because of their perceived collective identity, for example because of their age, disability or sexuality. If you are a victim of a hate crime, we recommend that you report it to Wiltshire Police, who will take all such allegations seriously and investigate them appropriately, in a sensitive manner.

Wiltshire Police.

Tel; 101

www.wiltshire.police.uk

If you would like advice about housing in relation to hate crime, please contact your local Housing Options team.

Please read our hate crime and harassment factsheet for further information and advice.

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We recommend that you report it to Wiltshire Police, who will take all such allegations seriously and investigate them appropriately, in a sensitive manner.

Wiltshire Police.

Tel; 101

www.wiltshire.police.uk

You can also report hate crimes or harassment to your neighbourhood officer who will:

  • Make representations to the police on your behalf
  • Liaise with oher departments and agencies as appropriate
  • Organise an interpreter for you if you have difficulty speaking English
  • Put you in touch with support groups if you would like this

We record and monitor all incidents of harassment in council housing and on council estates.

Please read our hate crime and harassment factsheet for further information and advice.

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Anti-social behaviours and nuisance

Wiltshire Council is committed to taking effective action to tackle and resolve anti-social behaviour. Our anti-social behaviour (ASB) page tells you what you can expect from the Housing Management service when you report any anti-social behaviour and sets out how we will deal with any reports that we receive.

  • Assess every case for priority when a complaint is first received and contact both the complainant and the alleged source of nuisance within five working days and within 24 hours in the most serious cases and keep them informed of progress at least every 4 weeks
  • Make sure that any case involving hate crime or racial harassment is referred immediately to the Police, as well as making our own investigations
  • Promote estate walkabouts with tenants’ representatives to identify areas for improvement
  • Maintain a database to record all significant reports of anti-social behaviour affecting our tenants
  • Remove graffiti within five working days; racist, homophobic or other offensive graffiti will be removed within 24 hours
  • Seek to remove abandoned vehicles quickly within the permitted timescales
  • Seek to remove any dumped rubbish or appliances within five working days
  • Take firm action where necessary to control anti-social behaviour, including the use of injunctions, acceptable behaviour contracts, parenting orders and anti-social behaviour orders

Wiltshire Council Housing Management is signed up to the government’s Respect Standard and is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and its causes.


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If your complaint is about noise, you can contact us to report noise pollution.

If the nuisance involves dogs which are not being properly kept, we can arrange for the council's Dog Warden Officers to speak to the owners of the dog.

We can also help if you have a problem with a neighbour who is in a council property, if they are breaching the conditions of their tenancy agreement. Please contact the local neighbourhood officer for advice and assistance.


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If your complaint is about anti-social behaviour, Wiltshire Council’s Community Safety Partnership has a range of information and links available to provide help and support. Please look at their anti-social behaviour webpages for more information. Please also see our anti-social behaviour factsheet for council tenants.

If your complaint is about hate crime, please read our hate crime and harassment factsheet for further information and advice.

We can also help if you have a problem with a neighbour who is in a council property, if they are breaching the conditions of their tenancy agreement. Please contact the local neighbourhood officer for advice and assistance.


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Neighbour nuisance

Wiltshire Council’s tenancy conditions set out a nuisance as any action that is likely to disturb or annoy your neighbours.
It is important to be a ‘good neighbour’ and to show consideration to others. If your neighbours are causing a nuisance, it is better to speak tactfully about your concerns, explaining how their behaviour is affecting you. Most people are reasonable and may be unaware that an issue has occurred until it has been brought to their attention in a friendly manner.

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Sometimes discussion may not be sufficient to resolve the issue. In these cases, there is a range of options to follow:
If your neighbours are also council tenants:
Wiltshire Council’s tenancy agreements prohibit ‘anything which is likely to cause nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to your neighbours. This includes:

  • Playing loud music
  • Arguing and door slamming
  • Dog barking and fouling
  • Offensive drunkenness
  • Selling drugs and drug abuse
  • Dumping rubbish
  • Playing ball games close to someone else’s home
  • Using foul and abusive language.

In these cases, you should report the issue to your Neighbourhood Manager.

We will:

  • Assess every case for priority when a complaint is first received and contact both the complainant and the alleged source of nuisance within five working days and within 24 hours in the most serious cases
  • Ensure that any case involving hate crime or racial harassment is referred immediately to the Police, as well as making our own investigations

Your Neighbourhood Manager can arrange for mediation between you and your neighbour and, if the situation requires it, can supply you with diary sheets to record evidence about your neighbour’s behaviour in order to build a case for further action. While the council will always try to resolve nuisance problems through mediation, in extreme cases there are legal options available, such as Possession Orders.
Where a Notice is served or proceedings taken about nuisance, tenants and members of their household may be prevented from transferring and, if they leave the property, may be barred from the council’s waiting list.


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If your neighbour is a council leaseholder, the council can still provide advice, and you should contact your Neighbourhood Manager who will advise you how to proceed. If your neighbour is the tenant of a housing association or registered social landlord, it is likely that their tenancy conditions also prohibit causing nuisance, and you should contact the housing association or registered social landlord for advice. If your neighbour is a private tenant or home owner, the council’s anti-social behaviour reduction officer can help you (contact details at the end of this factsheet). In such cases, it is a good idea to keep a record of the nuisance incidents, and of any contact between yourself and your neighbour.

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Private tenant advice

Landlord harassment and illegal eviction

If your landlord does something that interferes with your ability to enjoy living in your home in peace and is intended to make you leave your home or take away your rights, without your landlord having to follow the proper legal procedures, s/he could be guilty of harassment. The fact that your landlord owns your home does not give him/her, or anyone acting on his/her behalf, a right to harass you.

  • Removing or restricting access to services such as gas, electricity or water
  • Visiting your home regularly without warning
  • Threatening you entering your home when you are not there, without your permission
  • Allowing your property to get into such disrepair that its dangerous for you to stay in
  • Forcing you to sign agreements which take away your legal rights
  • Preventing you from getting into your home

Harassment can be very distressing and might make you feel as though you have no choice other than to move out. This is not the case and harassment is in fact a serious criminal offence.


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Do you feel you have been illegally evicted?

An illegal eviction takes place if your landlord makes you leave your home without following the proper legal process. An illegal eviction is a criminal offence, examples of how a landlord may try to evict you include:

  • Changing the locks while you are out
  • Threatening you and forcing you to leave
  • Physically throwing you out
  • Stopping you from getting into certain parts of your home


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Useful contacts

In emergency situations call 999

Regarding vehicle nuisance, groups intimidating others, substance abuse and drug dealing, street drinking/drunkenness, domestic abuse, harassment/hate crime, physical aggression, criminal activity.

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For fire related incidents of anti-social behaviour or arson.

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Who will listen to your concerns regarding your neighbours, discuss with you the options and agree an action plan.

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Their role is to support communities in standing up to anti-social behaviour.

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Last updated: 1 November 2016 | Last reviewed: 1 November 2016