When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Problems with housemates in shared housing

Sharing arrangements don't always work out. If you're having problems with your flatmates, don't ignore the issue. Try to resolve the situation.

Working out the problems

The type of problem that you have influences what you can do. If the problem comes from a personality clash, try to discuss things. It can be difficult to change the situation if you're unable to talk to the other person.

Your landlord may be able to take action if:

  • Your housemates are behaving in an anti-social way;
  • Other tenants aren't paying the rent.

Talk to your housemates

The first step is to talk about the situation. Discuss things calmly and let each person say what they need to say.

Many problems in shared accommodation are to do with day to day living like chores, noise and overnight guests. Agreeing some house rules, setting up a rota for regular chores, and agreeing what happens if people don't stick to these may help.

Anti-social behaviour

If your property is a HMO, the HMO manager has to take any complaints about anti-social behaviour seriously. If your housemates are behaving in an anti-social way, the landlord or HMO manager should speak to them about it and can take action to try to resolve this problem.

If your property is not a HMO, the PSNI or your local council may be able to help you deal with anti-social behaviour. This is possible in situations where:

  • another tenant has threatened you with violence;
  • the noise or damage caused is very severe;
  • there is racial or sexual harassment;
  • you are being harassed because of your religion.

Ask the landlord for help

If you are having a tough time and talking to your housemates hasn’t helped, you could raise the issue with the landlord.

The landlord may speak to the person who is causing problems to see if he or she will agree to stop behaving in this way.

In extreme cases, the landlord may be able to start eviction proceedings against the person causing the problem. If that person has a tenancy agreement, the landlord will have to be able to show that they have breached the agreement so may need you to provide evidence in court.

Can you leave the property?

It’s really hard to live in a tense atmosphere. If you aren’t getting along with your housemates, it’s tempting to want to leave.

However, if you still have time left on your tenancy agreement, you could still be held legally responsible for paying rent even after you’ve stopped living in the property.

Try negotiating with your landlord to see if he or she will release you from the agreement without penalty, or see if there is any other way to get out of your contract early.