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Anti social behaviour

The content on this page applies to the Department of Infrastructure Public Sector Housing, although the other housing authorities apply similar rules and guidelines. If in doubt, contact your housing authority.

Nuisance and harassment is behaviour that prevents you, or your neighbours, from living peacefully in your home.

Nuisance is behaviour that annoys 1 or more households. Harassment is unacceptable behaviour that is directed at a particular person or household. It can be violence or threats of violence that may be verbal or physical. It includes attacks on people and property. These anti social behaviours can include:

  • damage to property
  • physical assault
  • abusive graffiti
  • unwanted or unwelcome sexual comments
  • abusive language directed at someone because of his or her race, religion, sex, or for any other reason
  • offensive drunkenness
  • any criminal behaviour
  • making unnecessary or excessive noise (this can include anything from doors slamming to loud music)
  • any nuisance from animals including barking and fouling
  • playing ball or other games close to someone else’s property
  • any behaviour that interferes with the peaceful enjoyment of the surrounding area

Remember, if you cause a nuisance or harass someone, you will not only be breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement you could also be breaking the law. If that is the case, you may be prosecuted.

Consequences of disturbing your neighbours

You must make sure that you do not cause damage or become a nuisance to your neighbours, for example, excessive noise levels. See the page on neighbourhood noise problems for more information.

In particular, this means:

  • no drugs
  • no criminal activity
  • no violence or threats of violence
  • no late night parties or loud music, etc

If you are the subject of a complaint from your neighbours, the matter will be fully investigated and, if proven, immediate action will be taken to instigate legal proceedings. This could result in you and your family being evicted from your home.

How to avoid disturbing your neighbours

To avoid having problems with your neighbour:

  • treat your neighbours as you would like to be treated
  • if you know that there will be noise in your home, for example if you are having a party, let your neighbours know beforehand, or why not invite them to the party
  • co-operate with your neighbours if they ask you to reduce the noise
  • do not carry out noisy work on your home or car late at night or early in the morning
  • keep the volume of your television and music systems at a reasonable level at all times, and not so loud that people outside your home can hear them
  • if you have a dog, you should keep it under control and not let it bark continuously (see the pets page for further advice)
  • if your house or car alarm goes off, deal with it as quickly as possible
  • do not sound car horns or rev your car engine, especially late at night, and
  • ask children and visitors to try not to disturb the neighbours.


  • You are responsible for the behaviour of your children, anyone else who lives in your home and any visitors
  • Noise and vibrations travel easily through the walls, floors and doors, especially in flats, and
  • In the first year of your tenancy, we will visit you to check that you are being a good neighbour and help you if you have any difficulties. But don’t wait for the visits if you have any problems.

What you can do if you experience neighbour problems

It is always best to try to sort out disputes between yourselves. Ask whoever is causing the problem to stop. They might not be aware that they are causing a problem. Allow time for the situation to improve.

If you cannot solve the problem, you can explain what has happened to us and we will try to help. However, you must realise that if we are to act effectively we will usually have to involve you and that it may not be possible for your complaint to be kept anonymous.

You should contact the police if you think anything criminal has happened.

What to do if your neighbour is harassing you

We will not tolerate any form of harassment. We take all cases of nuisance and harassment seriously and will thoroughly investigate all reports. Action will be taken against any tenants found to be responsible for harassment and this could result in them losing their tenancies. All cases will be dealt with swiftly and sensitively. The Department has produced an incident diary on which to log cases of anti social behaviour, if you wish to submit a report to us (see downloadable documents). Our contact details are shown at the bottom of the diary. Alternatively, contact us directly as per the details below.

Housing Customer Services Team

Department of Infrastructure

Ground Floor

Markwell House

Market Street



Telephone:+44 1624 685955 Please note that all calls will be recorded for quality and training purposes.

Email:Send Email

What to do if you witness crime or vandalism

If you witness our property being vandalised, please contact the police but also let us know as we may wish to take criminal action against the alleged perpetrators.

Acceptable behaviour contracts

Acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) have proved a positive way of getting people to take responsibility for their conduct when they have been involved previously in anti social behaviour. An ABC is a written agreement between the person, the Department, and the police. The agreement aims to prevent the person from carrying out further behaviour that causes alarm or distress to other tenants or residents in the area.

The ABC leaflet provides more in-depth information on how the partnership works (see downloadable documents).

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