Irish Times Property Clinic 1st of May 2014
Publishing Date; Thursday the 1st day of May 2014.
Q. My boyfriend and I are currently renting an apartment in a large development in South Dublin. Pets are not allowed in the complex and this was one of the deciding factors for me when we chose to move in as I have had bad experiences with barking dogs in the past.
The neighbour who rents the apartment on one side of me has two dogs! To be fair, she walks them in the evenings and they are generally quiet when she is at home in the evenings. However, I work from home regularly and she leaves the two dogs in her apartment from about 8am to 6pm on weekdays. Needless to say, they bark for most of the day.
I am not sure how to resolve this as I don’t want to fall out with my neighbour as she has rented here for years and we like the place otherwise. I have tried discussing it with her which was completely pointless and got me absolutely nowhere. I have brought it up with our landlord but he has not assisted us in resolving this issue at all.
I get the impression my neighbour is allowed to do what she likes as she has been living here so long. As the owners and tenants in the other nearby apartments work during the day, this doesn’t really affect anyone else.
Who should I approach next? I really don’t want to have to move out.
A. Traditionally animals of nuisance are not permitted in a multi-unit development in the majority of cases. That is to say if a dog is of nuisance to other residents by barking, the owner of the animal is in breach of the governing lease agreement binding the landlord of their property to the owners’ management company.
This matter should be raised by your landlord with the owners’ management company (OMC) if there is indeed a breach of the Lease. It is also likely that the issue of animals of nuisance is detailed in the developments’ House Rules. This is a document that would have been included in your lease agreement with your landlord and in practice should be on display in the development lobbies. It is very unlikely that any redress from the OMC will resolve the matter if the dog owner is ignorant to your issues as it is not empowered to provide any meaningful enforcement.
If the dog owner fails to mitigate the nuisance you have an option in Law available to you in dealing with the occupier of the property directly.
Section 25 (2) of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986 allows for a person to submit a complaint to the District Court pertaining to a person in control of a barking dog that is of nuisance to them. You will also be required to give a written notice to the dog owner in a prescribed format as set out in the Act. It would be prudent to have a comprehensive written record of the times and dates of the alleged nuisance. If the Court finds that a nuisance was caused by excessive barking it may direct the following three outcomes;
•Order the occupier to abate the nuisance by exercising proper controls over the dog(s)
•Make an order for the number of animals that the occupier may keep on the premises
•Direct the dog(s) to be delivered to the Dog Warden should they be deemed to be unwanted by the occupier.
Paul Huberman is a member of the Property & Facilities Management Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland www.scsi.ie
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 01/05/2014