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Old 02-24-2012, 05:59 PM
 
18 posts, read 26,296 times
Reputation: 19
Default Upstairs neighbor's barking dog - do I have any legal recource?

I moved into this apartment a few months ago and back in early January, the upstairs neighbor got a new dog and started crating it. Since I work from home, I get to hear the dog bark and yelp all day, while scratching on the crate and trying to get out. This has been going on for nearly two months, and the neighbor is ambivalent about it. After the first couple of weeks, I left him a note about the barking dog and asked him to please do something. It wasn't exactly a nastygram, but he complained to management, and now I am forbidden to approach him anymore about the matter.

The property manager has talked to him about it, and told me to just be patient, as a new dog needs time to adjust to its environment. So after several more weeks, I told her that the dog is clearly not adjusting, and she said the dog may never adjust, but there's nothing legally she can do about it, since having a barking dog is like a crying child, and even if they took him to court, the case would get thrown out.

Anyway, rather than take her word for it, I decided to look into what the local laws are in regard to barking dogs, and whether I have any legal recourse, but I don't know where to start. The property manager is a dog owner herself, and is clearly sympathetic towards the neighbors, saying that if they let the dog out of the crate, it might chew up their furniture, and we can't have that, can we? She says she can't even advise the neighbor of proper crate training techniques, because that would be like telling them how to raise their children, and 'people get sensitive about that kind of thing'. She points out that none of the other neighbors have complained, but it happens during the day when most people are at work, so they're probably not even home. And even if they did complain, I don't think it would matter.

So basically, I'm being told to just live with it, so I'm done with mediation. I've got about 7 months left on this lease, and feel like I am being made to suffer for my neighbors decision to get a dog.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:20 PM
 
75 posts, read 83,663 times
Reputation: 67
Austin, TX Online Resources-- Noisy Animals
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: central Austin
4,471 posts, read 6,211,251 times
Reputation: 1805
You probably have recourse to break your lease. Try the Austin Tenant's Council.
Austin Tenants’ Council/Austin Tenants’ Council

Alternatively, offer to dog sit daily, charge at least $25 per day!
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:31 PM
 
Location: In a state of denial
1,290 posts, read 1,357,709 times
Reputation: 897
Quote:
Originally Posted by austin944 View Post
"An owner or handler may not keep an animal that makes frequent or long, continued noise that is disturbing to a person of normal sensibilities." That statute seems to certainly apply. How would one go about proving it? With a camcorder? And then one takes them to small claims court or calls the police?
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:43 AM
 
60 posts, read 53,178 times
Reputation: 62
Poor dog. Why do people get dogs just to neglect them? I second the suggestion of you offering to dogsit.. and getting paid for it. I work at home and my dogs offer great company without intruding. I recommend it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Cherokee Nation
26,114 posts, read 9,444,518 times
Reputation: 5747
I can sympathize with you.

I am a dog lover too, but I would have had a problem just like you.

Noisy neighbors is why I only lived in one apartment in my life and I lived on the upper floor where foot noise was not the issue.

Some floor plans of duplex's are the same noise magnifiers, in the wrong rooms as apartments.
I was the noise maker in my first duplex, with the stereo and even the TV and a neighbor that worked and slept on weird inconsistent schedules.

After our first house and I'll never go back to an apt. or duplex.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,069 posts, read 18,442,102 times
Reputation: 6178
I don't understand how crating a dog inside an apartment is legal when keeping a dog on a leash in the yard is illegal. You can try calling 311 to see if animal control can offer any help.

Otherwise I would serve my landlord with written notice that the animals constant noises during the day are preventing you from the quiet enjoyment of your apartment, disrupting your work and that if it does not stop you will have to terminate your lease. Then follow through on doing so. It may be worth consulting an attorney to help you break your lease.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Volcano
10,864 posts, read 8,198,078 times
Reputation: 8478
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorknMan View Post
So basically, I'm being told to just live with it, so I'm done with mediation. I've got about 7 months left on this lease, and feel like I am being made to suffer for my neighbors decision to get a dog.
Yes, by all means, contact the Tenant's Council. And you might be smart to contact the Lawyer's Referral Service for a low cost legal consultation.

As a layman who has been in your place I'll say, yes, you do have rights, and the property manager is ignoring them. You do not just have to suck it up and suffer. You are entitled to "quiet enjoyment" of your apartment, free of disturbance from neighbors. And you have the right to financial damages if the landlord fails to provide that. It can also be valid grounds for terminating your lease early.

Also, what you've done so far is not mediation. Mediation involves having a trained and neutral third party to referee and work for resolution. Check your lease papers, you very well may be entitled to actual mediation. If so, raising that possibility to your property manager may help motivate them to seek a resolution.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:02 PM
 
75 posts, read 83,663 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck_steak View Post
"An owner or handler may not keep an animal that makes frequent or long, continued noise that is disturbing to a person of normal sensibilities." That statute seems to certainly apply. How would one go about proving it? With a camcorder? And then one takes them to small claims court or calls the police?
Call the police when the dog is barking (use the non-emergency number), and invite them into the apartment to hear the noise.

Before you do that, I would print out a copy of the ordinance and post it on your neighbor's door with a note that if the noise is not stopped, you will call the police. Then follow-up later with the property managers with the same notice. You want the dog owner to come to the property managers to complain about your complaints.

If that doesn't work, then call the police around the time that most of the residents are active on the grounds, and when this dog-owner comes home. Invite the police over to the property managers to have a discussion. Then go over to the dog-owner's place. You want as big a scene as possible, and as long as possible. Hold the police there for as long as you can.

If the police do nothing, then setup a picket outside the grounds with a huge sign -- "This place allows noisy animals". First threaten the property managers with a picket, and then follow through on every single day with a picket.

You want to make your problem into their problem. They will do nothing if they don't have a problem on their hands. Keep escalating the problem and complain and threaten the property managers and the dog owner every single day.

Moderator cut: off topic

Last edited by Bo; 02-25-2012 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,069 posts, read 18,442,102 times
Reputation: 6178
Document your complaints and efforts to resolve the problem, do it all in writing. Those documents become your evidence to justify breaking your lease if it comes to that.
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