D.H. from Middlesex County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I like to keep the windows in my condo open in the summer to bring in the fresh air and keep down my air conditioning bill. Unfortunately, my next door neighbor has two yappy little dogs that react to the slightest of noises outside the unit. They are good watch dogs but they go off every five minutes and once they start barking they just keep going for several minutes at a time. Our by-laws restrict pet noise but, so far, I cannot get the Property Manager or Board to do anything about the dogs barking. What can I do?
Mister Condo replies:
D.H., I certainly don’t blame you for wanting to save money on air conditioning and open your windows in the summer. Your neighbor isn’t playing by the rules and is creating a bad situation for you and other residents who are subject to their barking. I assume you have spoken to your neighbor about the issue and still have it unresolved. Contacting your Board and Property Manager is the right course of action. However, you may need to turn up the pressure on them if they are not following the rules for enforcing the rules.
Once you register a complaint, the violation should show up as an actionable item for the next meeting of the Board of Directors. A notice should be sent to your neighbor informing of the violation and inviting the neighbor to appear before the Board at the next Board meeting to address the complaint. If the complain is found valid, the Board is then free to issue a fine for the violation and subsequent violations, as outline in your by-laws. Some associations have a “three strikes and you’re out” clause as well whereby they can force the unit owner to remove the pet if violations continue. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Most likely all that needs to happen is your neighbor needs to close the windows so the dogs aren’t triggered to alarm. They may also need some barking control training so that all unit owners can have peaceable enjoyment of their units which is their right. Good luck getting the barking under control. Enjoy your summer!