Students and the Community
Living off campus means that you are likely to be living side by side with local people in local communities. Many of these people will have lived in the area for a long time and experienced a lot of change, with increased numbers of students from a variety of colleges and universities coming to live in the area. Please try to be sensitive to this, respect that this is their home and help ensure their quality of life is not disrupted.
Your neighbours may have a different lifestyle to you – they may work shifts, have children or be trying to enjoy a peaceful retirement. Being a good neighbour isn't hard, a little consideration is all that is required.
Getting to know your neighbours
• Perhaps the single most important move you can make.
• Just knock on the door and introduce yourself or say hello when you spot each other on the street or in the garden.
• Not everyone will share your taste in music – keep the volume down to a reasonable level.
• Position speakers away from adjoining walls.
• Avoid shouting in the street and remember to be careful and quiet when you return home after a night out.
• The Council have powers to deal with noisy neighbours. They can issue a Warning Notice on your property, and if you don’t reduce the noise, will fine you on the spot or take you to court.
• You can also receive a written warning and be fined by the University for off-campus noise disturbance under the Student Conduct Regulations.
• Remember that some people may have to get children to sleep or be working early in the morning, so noise can disturb others even if it is not what you’d consider late at night.
• It is illegal to drink on the street in most areas of Belfast (including Botanic Gardens, the Holyland and the greater University area). This includes on the pavement outside your home.
• Council Community Safety Wardens and the PSNI can prosecute anyone caught drinking in the street.
• Anyone over 18 caught drinking in these areas will be fined up to £500.
• Remember that there are children living and travelling to and from school in the area who may witness your behaviour.
• You might think a poster or a note in your window is funny. A neighbour might think it is tasteless/offensive. Think about what others can see.
• Respect the property of others, particularly fences, walls, street furniture and parked cars.
• Use the toilet, not the street. Not only is it unpleasant for others locally, but urinating in the street can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice for indecent behaviour from the police, which can show up when employers are carrying out Access NI checks as part of the recruitment process. For further information, check out http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/access-ni
• Parking in many places off campus is difficult. Think about whether you really need to bring a car to Belfast.
• Think about how you park your car as well as where – think about the emergency services and deliveries – can they get past?
Help Keep the Neighbourhood Clean
• Contact your landlord should your property be in need of repair.
• Keep your garden and any surrounding areas free of rubbish
• Take your rubbish home or use proper bins
• Your landlord should provide you with a black wheelie bin when you move into your property. Remember to put this out for collection regularly and collect it back in on the same day. If you are going to be away, ask a neigh our or friend to bring it back in. Unclaimed bins can be taken away by the Council.
• Help do your bit for the environment by recycling. The Council will provide you with recycling bins for free and deliver them to your house.
• If you want to dispose of bulky items, don’t just leave them in the alleyway as this could land you with a fine. The Council may be able to collect it for free.
For further information, download the Belfast Bin Smart app from www.belfastbinsmart.com or visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/bins
Respect the Diversity of the Neighbourhood
• The area around the University is diverse, with a variety of ages, nationalities, ethnicities, family structures and professions sharing the neighbourhood with students. Please consider how your actions may impact on, and be perceived by these different groups.
• Why not take advantage of some of the opportunities provided by local community groups and the Students’ Union to learn about cultural diversity and enjoy the colour and vitality it brings to the area.
Get involved in the Community
• Make a positive difference to the community by taking advantage of over 3,000 volunteering opportunities in community groups, charities, and voluntary organisations offered through the Students’ Union. To find out more visit http://www.qubsu.org/VolunteerSU/
• The Students Union has an officer dedicated to representing students in the wider community. For further information on how you can get involved, contact the Student Officer Community on email@example.com