Complaining about your neighbour
If your neighbour is noisy or stops you feeling comfortable, try to discuss it with them if you can. If that doesn’t work there are other ways you can ask them to stop, for example by reporting them to the council.
Contact the police if you think your neighbour has broken the law - for example, they’ve been violent or threatening.
Call 999 if the crime is still happening or 101 to report a crime later.
If you think your neighbour’s making trouble because of your race, religion, sexuality or other characteristic, it could be a hate crime or hate incident. Tell the police in the normal way or report it online.
Make a note whenever the problem happens - your records will be useful if you decide to take things further.
Write as much detail as possible. Include what happened, the length of time and how it affected you. For example, ‘22 June - dogs barking from 10:15am to 12:35pm. Loud enough to hear in living room - had to turn up my radio’.
Keep any messages your neighbour sends you and collect evidence if you feel safe to. For example, take a photo of rubbish that’s been dumped in your garden.
Talking to your neighbour
Only talk to your neighbour if you feel safe and comfortable.
It’s quicker to talk face to face - but you can write, text or call if that’s easier. You can take someone with you for support.
Tell your neighbour how their behaviour is affecting you and what would help. Listen to your neighbour and see if you can reach a compromise together.
Getting help from a mediator
You can ask a mediator for help if you want to put things right but you can’t agree how. A mediator is someone who doesn’t know either of you and who’s trained to help people resolve disagreements.
It’s a good idea to ask your council if they can help you find a mediator. You can find your local council on nidirect.
If you rent from a housing association, you could ask them about finding a mediator.
If you still need help, you can look for a mediator through Housing Rights.
You might have to pay for a mediator.
If you think it's anti social behaviour
If your neighbour's behaviour is classed as 'anti social' there are steps you can take to stop it happening. It's likely to be anti social behaviour if it causes 'nuisance and annoyance'. This could be, for example, if they:
- make a lot of noise
- dump rubbish
- write graffiti
- have a dog that barks a lot or causes trouble
- use your garden without permission
- harass you because of religion, race, gender, disability or another characteristic
It isn't anti social behaviour if the problem's about normal day-to-day living, for example if you don't like your neighbour's cooking smells or you can hear their baby crying. The only way to solve these problems is by talking to your neighbour to try and agree a compromise.
If you're not sure whether your neighbour's behaviour is anti social, you can talk it through with an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice.
Report the anti social behaviour
If you know your neighbour is renting and who from, talk to their landlord first - this might be a private landlord, housing association or the council.
If that doesn't sort out the problem you can go to the council if you haven't already talked to them. Check their website for how to complain about anti social behaviour.
You can go straight to the council if:
- you don't know whether your neighbour rents or owns
- they rent but you don't know who from
- they own their home
IYou can find your local council on nidirect.
What to say when you report it
Give your neighbour’s address and their name if you know it. When you describe the problem, say:
- how often it happens
- how it’s affecting you
- what you’ve done to try and solve it
- who else you’ve reported it to
If you’ve been collecting evidence about the problem, offer to send a copy.
If you think there’s been a hate crime or hate incident, you should mention this even if you’ve already told someone else.
Ask when you’ll hear back and what to do if the problem gets worse.
If you report the problem by phone, make a note of the date and time you call and write down the name of the person you spoke to. You might need these details if you take the problem further.
If you’re unhappy with the council or landlord’s response
If you’re not happy with a housing association or the council, complain using their complaints process - you’ll find it on their website.
If you still think they haven’t acted as they should, you can go to an ombudsman. They’ll look at your complaint and decide if the council or housing association should put things right.
To complain about the council or a housing association, go to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.
If you still need help
If you haven’t managed to solve the problem through the council or speaking to the landlord, contact your nearest Citizens Advice. They'll help you decide what to do next.