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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Nuisance

Advice for landlords in Northern Ireland

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choose option 5. 

Landlords can get complaints about their tenants from neighbours or from the council. The most common complaints are about noise and rubbish. 

HMO landlords

There are extra rules about nuisance and antisocial behaviour for HMO landlords. A HMO is a property shared by at least 3 unrelated people. If you have HMO properties, you have to stick to

Non-HMO landlords

There are fewer rules for landlords of properties that are not HMOs. But, you may still get complaints about your tenants. It's important to deal with these complaints fairly. 

Noise problems

Councils are responsible for investigating noise complaints. Most complaints are dealt with informally, but the council can serve a legal notice on a person causing nuisance noise requiring them to stop. This is usually on the tenant, but it could be on the landlord.

It is more likely that a neighbour will contact you to complain about noisy tenants. If this happens, you should

  • listen respectfully to the neighbour's complaints
  • investigate to see if your tenants are causing a nuisance
  • give the tenants a warning if they are causing a nuisance.

Problems with rubbish

You must provide the right bins for your property if it is a HMO. 

The law is unclear on providing bins for other properties, but tenants expect a landlord to do this. 

Make sure your property's bins are clearly labelled. Bin theft is not unusual in certain areas. Unless the tenants' negligence caused the theft, you should pay for a replacement bin. 

Tenants are responsible for making sure that rubbish is put out and collected. You should make sure your tenants know the bin collection timetable. You could

  • include details in the tenancy agreement
  • put stickers on the bins
  • put a notice up in the property.

The council can issue a penalty notice if someone is not disposing of rubbish properly. 

Problems between housemates

Problems between housemates can get so bad that one tenant wants to leave. Your tenants may ask you to get involved in the dispute, but it can be very difficult to come up with a solution. 

Mediation may be the best solution in these cases. There is a free housing mediation service for registered landlords. You can ask your tenants to take part in this if they have a dispute. 

Get advice if tenants want you to evict a housemate because of their behaviour. This isn't a simple problem to solve. 

How to deal with tenants who are causing nuisance

There are often reasons for someone's difficult behaviour. Your tenant may need support to manage their tenancy. You cannot force a tenant to ask a support agency for help, but you can tell a tenant about different services. 

Send tenants a written warning if they have been causing a nuisance. Be clear about what will happen if the behaviour does not improve. 

Your tenancy agreement should have a term about nuisance to neighbours. You could take action to evict the tenants if

  • they repeatedly or seriously break this term, and
  • their behaviour does not improve after a warning.

The Housing Mediation Service may be able to help you settle a dispute with a tenant. 

Need help solving a problem?

You should always get advice if you are having problems with a tenancy. You can contact Landlord Advice for advice on your rights. Housing Rights can also provide a mediation service if you and your tenant are having problems and need an independent person to help resolve these.