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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Your responsibilities to neighbours

The best way of ensuring a safe and friendly neighbourhood is if everyone carries out their own responsibilities. You need to ensure that you show your neighbours the same respect that you expect from them.

Property maintenance

If your property has a garden or yard that your neighbours look on to, you should try to keep this in a good state of repair. If there is any damage to the exterior of the property, tenants should report this to their landlord immediately as it could be dangerous. Your tenant's handbook or tenancy agreement should help you figure out if sorting out the problem is your responsibility or your landlord's. 

Rubbish

You have a responsibility to take care of your own rubbish.  If you're a tenant, your landlord should provide you with a rubbish bin, but it's your responsibility to ensure this is left out for the rubbish collection and taken back in afterwards. If your bin is stolen or gets lost, you'll normally have to replace this yourself.  Check with your local council, some councils may provide free or low cost bins to residents. 

Depending on what area of Northern Ireland you live in, you may be able to get a recycling bin or box and a compost bin in addition to your main rubbish bin. Your local council should be able to keep you up to date with collection information. Bryson Recycling provides a recycling service to many homes in Northern Ireland and may be able to provide you with a free kerbside recycling box. A build up of rubbish can attract vermin. If you don't look after your household rubbish correctly, a neighbour may report you to the council.

Noise

Sometimes making noise is unavoidable. If you know there is going to be more noise than usual coming from your property let your neighbours know.

If you're having work done to the property, inform your neighbours of the times that workmen will be in the property and of how long the work will take to complete. Be respectful of them and try to have the work carried out at reasonable hours during the day.

If you're planning a party, it might be a good idea to invite your neighbours. You can minimise the noise by keeping your music to a reasonable level, closing windows and placing your speakers away from adjoining walls. If you live in an apartment block, don't let your friends hang out in the corridors or communal spaces where they can bother the other people who live there.

Remember that you are responsible for the actions of anyone that you invite into your home. If a guest is seen to be carrying out anti-social behaviour, your landlord may reserve the right to start eviction proceedings against you.

Pets

Animals can often cause disputes between neighbours. If you have pets, try to keep them under control. Don't let them roam free where they could foul your neighbours' property. If you have dogs, don't let their barking get out of control. If your dog's barking is annoying your neighbour you could be fined up to £5000.

If you're planning on getting a pet, make sure your tenancy agreement allows this. Most Housing Executive and housing association tenants are allowed one pet but need to get their landlord's permission in writing to have more than one.  

Private tenants should always get their landlord's permission for a pet in writing.  Your landlord should not unreasonably refuse a request for a pet, but if s/he is worried that the property is not suitable for the type of animal you have chosen or the landlord feels the type of animal you have chosen is likely to cause damage in the property s/he is entitled to refuse consent.