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Neighbours and loud music

Coronavirus update

Our offices are closed and officers are working remotely to deal with queries on a priority basis. If you have an urgent query or request please contact us by email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk. Please note that we can only offer a limited service and we are unable to carry out visits to commercial or domestic premises.

Excessive noise caused by a neighbour's loud music, late-night parties or banging doors is a common complaint.

Some amount of noise is expected if you live in an apartment block or busy street but, if the noise is constant and affecting your day-to-day life, you can report it to us.

You can deal with it in two ways: 

Informal action

Neighbours may not be aware they are bothering you and may be happy to meet your requests or make a compromise. You should choose a suitable time to visit them and discuss the problem. Remember, to avoid confrontation, be calm, polite and civil.

You may feel more comfortable bringing another person with you. However, if you don't feel able to approach your neighbour, or have already tried and were unsuccessful, more direct action may be needed.

Formal action

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, we can deal with excessive noise disturbances which cause a nuisance to people living nearby.  

The action we take depends on the type and level of disturbance you are experiencing. As every case is different our officers will assess your complaint based on:

  • loudness
  • when it occurs
  • how often and for how long
  • make-up of the local area
  • effect on you, and
  • likely effect on the average person.

We may also ask you to keep a diary recording the dates and times of each disturbance, or to allow our officers into your property to monitor the noise. 

If we agree that a nuisance exists or is likely to occur, we can serve the person responsible with a Noise Abatement Notice, asking them to reduce it. Evidence that the legal Notice has been breached is required before the noise maker may be brought to court.

Noise at Night

We have additional powers under the Noise Act (1996) as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 to deal with certain types of noise after 11pm.

We operate a Night Time Noise Service from 8pm to 4am seven days a week and would encourage you to ring the Noise Hotline on 028 9037 3006 as soon as the noise occurs. This gives our officers an opportunity to call out to witness and assess the disturbance. The action taken depends on the level of noise witnessed.  A Warning Notice may be served if excessive noise is witnessed.

If the person responsible doesn't comply with the warning notice, we'll take noise measurements inside your house. If our levels show that a night-time noise offence has been committed, we may issue the person with an on-the-spot fine of £110 (discounted to £85 if paid in full within 10 days), or they may face prosecution.

In extreme cases, we also have the power to seize equipment such as CD players, CDs, MP3 players, laptops, mixing decks, amplifiers and speakers.


Contact us
Noise control
028 9037 3006