Neighbour at war with us - interfering with property sale

We live in small block of apartments, recently our neighbours (who are investors) got some less than ideal tenants who have 2 dogs which they allow to crap and piss on the balcony, leaving it for days. Our front door is very close to the balcony and it stinks.

As our apartment (which is vacant) has recently gone on the market we emailed the landlord letting them know and asking them to ask the tenant to clean up after the dog. This caused a massive drama as the tenant wasn't supposed to have dogs and lied on the lease. They're attempting to evict her but she's digging in and taking it out on us. She's let the crap and urine pile up even more and it's becoming really gross.

We then wrote a polite letter asking them to please clean it up and maybe take them out to the street - we noted that had a dog when we were living there (we're animal lovers and we personally have no problem with them having dogs) and we took it out to the street twice a day. They responded by scrunching the letter up and putting it back in our letterbox. A week later we went over to the property to find that the tenant is now deliberately parking over our space - making it impossible for us to park.

Obviously the smell, the pile of crap and the obstructed car park will look really bad on open house inspections. We've spoken to the landlord today and whilst super apologetic they don't know what to do. They said one of the two tenants is attempting to get the one who owns the dogs to move out but she's refusing to - not sure how true this is.

What do you we do? Selling a property is stressful enough without having to deal with literal crap.

Update: Got an email from the landlord saying they've spoken to the tenant who has agreed to move out asap. In the meantime they've promised to clean up after the dogs and will stop parking over our spot. Hopefully they'll follow through with it.

Comments

  • +5 votes

    what does the body corporate say ?

    •  

      About pets? Nothing - but we're all on the same page and can easily pass a resolution banning them if that's what you're getting at.

      • +20 votes

        The body corporate enforce parking regulations if there are any. The body corporate also makes the rules about the state that an external balcony needs to be maintained at to prevent the interference of the neighbours enjoying their property. I'm sure there is a rule about maintaining a clean environment to prevent vermin. After raising it with the body corporate who will forward it to the landlord, then they are able to act if the tenant still refuses to follow the requests. Start the process as soon as you can imho.

        •  

          Good suggestion, but is this any different to going to the landlord directly? The landlord still has little power to compel them do anything as far as others have said.

        • +11 votes

          @chu-oh:

          It always seems wise to have the paperwork in order, especially if you are trying to help the landlord with reasons to evict the tenant.

        •  

          @colinjames: That's actually a valid angle. Thing for OP to watch out is if prospective buyers do body corporate inspections, you wouldn't want them to see OP and neighbour's tiff in that report, which it would be if it got to the attention of the body corp.

        •  

          @chu-oh: The landlord might magically become more motivated to solve the problem when they have a direct financial incentive

        • +2 votes

          @chu-oh:

          If the car space is yours, and on your title, then it's not common property so the OC is less useful.

          If you want to go hardcore you can arrange to have them wheel-locked if they're on you carspace. Must be a few outfits you can engage to do this - authorise them to wheel-lock, and then the one parking on your site needs to chase them up (and pay them) to get their car back.

          And please don't ask them to leave their dog shit on the street - i'm walking there ffs.

          Maybe get a fat hose and hose down their balcony.

          And the guy on the lease will end up with a lousy tenant history if they're not careful - that can be very motivating. I suspect the one with the dog isn't on the lease, in which case they have most likely been licenced to be there, which can be revoked without any risk of any tribunal hearing (which don't deal with that circumstance). Maybe ensure whoever has the lease is aware that they can probably shunt everything owned by the one with the dog into the shed or whatever without any real risk to them. This kind of thing happens all the time.

          Note also that if there's a 'no pets' bylaw applying to the site, then you could engage the OC to try and get them to put pressure on the owner. The OC can issue notices that can lead to fines if they pull their finger out (ie the landlord getting fined). This can help motivate the landlord to evict the lot of them as that doesn't seem to have happened yet, which it really probably should have given the presence of dogs appears to be a serious breach of the lease.

          Don't underestimate how all this can impact on your sales campaign, and therefore don't be afraid to invest some real dollars into this. You may wish to get a lawyer to pop the owner and tenant a letter indicating you may claim for any loss associated with the disruption, but that probably doesn't have many legs in reality as proving the lost opportunity is not easy and not straight forward when it comes to a claim.

          This message approved by AngryChicken

        •  

          Nicely explained. My aunt had a problem with neighbours spilling dirt on their other side of the fence. After legal acts, it got pretty profitable for her. So as long as you fight for it - you should not loose.

      •  

        I don't if it's the same in your state but in WA you can't easily change the strata bylaws like that.

    • +6 votes

      If you get an AVO, that would force them to move out

      No it won't.

    • +4 votes

      If you get an AVO, that would force them to move out,

      This isn't true in the slightest. An AVO placed on a neighbour only restricts direct contact between the two parties. A standard AVO cannot force somebody to be evicted. The only AVO in VIC that has such power is one raised due to domestic violence.

  • +2 votes

    This is a tricky situation. My strategy will be dependant upon the characters and circumstance of all parties. There are many approach to this but unfortunately they would all take a long time, well past your Open Inspection….

    Just wondering if on Day One, you contacted the Tenant directly first, instead of going to the Owners first, would the outcome be different?

    Sorry not helpful, but just food for thought for future.

    • +2 votes

      Who knows - the response to the letter makes me think they're not very reasonable. I think one of the other owner/occupiers may have actually complained about the dogs to the landlord so I guess they would have assumed it was us anyway.

      •  

        Sometimes when you talk really nicely to someone face to face they are a bit more reasonable because for MOST people it's hard to be rude to someone who is being reasonable, or they might just hit you in the face.

  • +1 vote

    offer to pay the tenant money to clean up their mess?

    sometime spend a bit of money can solve your problem as well as selling your apartment for a better price, everyone winning.

    •  

      This is actually a good idea. You wanna make sure they do it though.

      Lotsa people will say no way you should pay for that and they are not wrong but if $50/fortnight gets them to clean it up then that is a win

  • +2 votes

    it might be a health issue. possibly your local council might do something about it

  • +3 votes

    Dog whistle?
    Maybe by annoying her dogs a little during the night time might be enough to wake them to annoy their owner?

    Poor doggies though.

  • -2 votes

    "Neighbour at war with us"

    It sounds like a bad situation and I hope it's resolved peacefully. Having said that "War" is a wee exaggeration!

  • +2 votes

    Give Mick Gatto a call. He is Melbourne based. PM me if you want his number.

  •  

    Unfortunately, in this situations, the only way to gain any kind of expedited solution is to beat them at their own game. Theoretically, if you were to retaliate in a similar manner to this person, after their antics are well known amongst the other tenants of the building, then any accusations sent your way would most likely be disregarded and seen as an attempt to sling mud and gain sympathy. This person has demonstrated, on multiple occasions, that they're not willing to listen to reason, and you can't reason with an unreasonable person, I'm afraid.

    Of course, I would never recommend that you do anything of this nature. But one can dream.

    • -1 vote

      Unfortunately OP wants to sell, so it doesn't matter who gets blamed - it'll scare off prospective buyers either way.

      •  

        Not unless the OP can gain the upper hand in an expedited fashion, since any official resolution pathway will take far too long, as you're alluding to. There are a number of ways to 'fight fire with fire' in this situation to quickly put this to bed and without doing anything terrible.

  •  

    Short term we can probably cover up the smell/hope people don't notice. But do I have any quick legal recourse to stop them parking over our carpark? It's basement parking.

    Will the cops care if I make a complaint?

    •  

      Doubt the police would want to get involved, just call a tow truck, I'm sure they'll take your money :)

    • +8 votes

      For the purposes of the open home, I don't think it matters that your neighbour's car is in your spot. Usually, the agent will just say that there's parking on title and point to the spot. Buyers will then just assume that whichever car is parked there is yours.

      Honestly, people are only there for 10 minutes max and are more concerned with how the inside looks.

    • +3 votes

      If your carspot is not clearly marked, then clearly mark it. If marked, and they persist, then 1st warning click up their wipers into the air. 2nd warning Stick a brick under their tyre, it will scare to bejesus out of them when they try to drive.
      If you can reach, high pressure clean the dog poo etc.

      •  

        That's actually a great idea, just blast it off from your balcony. Hope theirs no one below you though, lol.

  •  

    on private property that is the domain of the body corporate, no, they will not care. o_O

  • +7 votes

    People parking over your spot - this has been covered before.

    Just saying, you know those lead pieces they stick on the wheels for balance. It is terrible when people take the lead pieces off and stick them to the opposite side. It throws the balance waaay off and the car suffers, the driver suffers and it is so freaking hard to notice.

  • +10 votes

    It sounds as though one way or another the tenant is going to be moved on even if it does take some time, is it an option to hold off on the sale until they're gone?

  • +6 votes

    This is one of those times you wish you'd bought that wheel clamp from Aldi.

  •  

    You've tried being civil and it doesn't appear to be getting through. Good on you for trying to do it the proper way. I can imagine others would've handled it with less grace.

  • -2 votes

    Would you consider paying them off? Say to them I'll give you $x if you pick up your dog crap and not be a nuisance during the open home.

    You shouldn't have to do this because you're the wronged party here but in a house negotiation, you could agree to a $5000 reduction in a blink of an eye. So just think of the payment as part of your advertising costs.

    • +2 votes

      I tend to think fairly transactionally - so I think this may be the best course of action. I don't want drama, I just want them to stop acting like pricks and stop making our place look bad.

      I'll see how the next week or so goes, the landlord is taking it very seriously so they might be able to broker peace.

    •  

      Yeah I tend to agree, especially for a short term situation like this. Better to grit teeth and smile until the place gets sold…. then it's time for revenge :)

  •  

    I've seen similar things to this in the past. Offer them a slab for each open house that takes place, or something like that. And for the auction if you are going to have one. This strategy has worked well for others in the past.

  • +7 votes

    Get a bottle of liquid ass, put it into a pump / spray cansister with a long nozzle and pump it under their door

    Payback stinks. They’ll have to stay elsewhere overnight at least. It has no lasting impact.

  •  

    Cheers for all the payback suggestions, as much as I'll get an extreme amount of satisfaction retaliating I fear they'll only get worse - start flinging crap onto our balcony etc.

  • +4 votes

    Report your neighbour to the RSPCA claiming animal abuse.

    • +2 votes

      We actually did this for previous neighbours who were owners and no landlord to deal with. Though the circumstances were maybe a little more extreme. Other than the piles of dog shit on the balcony, they left the dog chained up on the balcony or in a cage for days in all weather conditions. We climbed the fence and took photos then sent in a complaint to the RSPCA.

      We don't actually know what happened but they cleaned up their act within about 2 weeks!

  • +7 votes

    I'd contact council, RSPCA and hammer their landlord with continuous complaints. There is a rule that tenants have to not disturb the peace….at least in Vic. We had a tenant in our old building who threw crazy loud parties. Enough people complained and he got evicted. You just need to put it all in writing and reference the relevant laws.

    P.s. For the people saying give them a stab of beer or pay them off…you can't negotiate with crazy and these people are clearly screwed up in the head.

    • +1 vote

      What are you talking about? I get heaps of beer by running that particular scam.

    • +1 vote

      Agree, I dont think rewarding disgusting behaviour is at all helpful.

      I always think the legal route is a little more effective. You are protected then.

    •  

      The council would be good, if they are sneaking animals into apartments they might also be the type who don't register their pets either. A nice fine in the mail for unregistered pets might be fun.

    •  

      what you say is true, but, you have someone who is trying to sell their house. unless they want to delay the sale they don't have time to try and wait for an eviction (which may not even eventuate).

  •  

    You'd have to check the relevant act but I'm sure it's in there that you have the right to enjoy communal spaces without infringement in this way. See if you can find it, send them a threatening legal letter using lots of scary sounding legal jargon, asking them for damages and legal costs. Mention you look forward to this going to court. If she ignores/scrunches it up, send another and up the damages amount. Do it a couple of times, and refer to a pending court date and the letter she she'll be receiving from the appropriate authorities. Remind her that failure to show up on the date may result in an automatic ruling in your favour. Don't give her a date. I know it's mean but she sounds cray.

    • +5 votes

      I went this route and after 1+ year of doing the right thing, nothing happened.

      The neighbor wasn't home most days/nights and left 2 little yappy dogs to bark/cry all day and night where the entire block of townhouses would be at their torment.

      I made multiple calls/letters to the RSCPA, council and body corporate. I sent the neighbor who left their dogs in a 2mx2m concrete balcony all day/night multiple letters and so did other neighbors. Nothing ever happened.

      I was studying at the time and couldn't take the constant yapping during the day making me unable to study in peace if at home and also keeping me awake during the night.

      One day I broke in, took the dogs and let them loose far away. No more problems with them ever again.

      • +1 vote

        Wow

        • +3 votes

          It was a failure of the council. A lot of us tried to do the right thing by using the available legal avenues to get the neighbor to keep their dogs quite.

          After so long there's only so much people can take. Some people would move, some people would learn to live with it, and some people would do the right thing by themselves and those around them even if it meant going against the law. I know I'm the latter, and I'm actually really proud of myself that I did it.

        •  

          @c0balt:

          =( Poor doggos.

          Should've turned them into a shelter or adoption center. Yes, riskier for you, but pet dogs don't fare well in the wild (unlike cats).

        •  

          @HighAndDry:

          I love animals, I have a degree in zoology and have had many pets over the years.

          Unfortunately for your idea there's these things called microchips. Those dogs would have been returned within a few days. That was not an option after dealing with it for so long. I had reached the end of my tether. Despite my best efforts politics had failed, so the army was brought in to deal with it.

        • +1 vote

          @c0balt:

          Yeah, I'm aware of microchips. I would've taken the risk that they weren't micro-chipped, rather than basically dooming the dogs to die of starvation =/ I know there weren't really any good options though.

      • +2 votes

        Did you ensure that the dogs had new and safe homes? Little yappy dogs wont survive in the wild.

      •  

        That was ballsy dude! I like it!

  • +1 vote

    It looks like you've taken on all the regular avenues. To be completely honest, since you're not living there, I wouldn't be too fearful of fighting fire with fire.

    Our front door is very close to the balcony and it stinks.

    I would start by returning the favour. Depends on how petty you want to be, but leave a rotten durian on your property where the smell will spread to theirs. You can also get those stink bombs that kids play with which let out that rotten egg smell. I'd personally also get some nice speakers and connect it up to a timer. Remotely start playing music during the middle of the night.

    To be completely fair, I would only do this if they were the only ones I was disturbing.

    I would also let the landlord know, in no uncertain terms, that they're trashing their property so the landlord knows the extent of the issues they're causing. Lastly, if you regularly speak to other neighbours, perhaps bring it up with them to see if they're also aware of the issue.

    A week later we went over to the property to find that the tenant is now deliberately parking over our space - making it impossible for us to park.

    Call a tow truck or let property management know so they can fine them. They're on your property, so you have the right to move their car off it.

  • +3 votes

    RSPCA? The home owners obviously don't care about their pets. Maybe this road might be a good one to go go down!

  • +5 votes

    Bikies

  • +3 votes

    EPA might be your best bet where the odour is offensive and constant.
    https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/odour/understand...

  •  

    Our front door is very close to the balcony and it stinks.

    Do you own a hose?

  •  

    -RSPCA are only concerned for the dogs welfare, i.e. food, water, shelter and not being abused, and living condition does come into it.
    -EPA can be good for noise, and other pollutants i.e. smell etc
    -Landlord. The tenants tenancy agreement will talk about maintaining the property, not disturbing the neighbours etc, the landlord needs to serve relevant Notices and take them to the tribunal for a decision in the matter, i.e. they can be given a behavioural order, condition order etc. The tribunal wont take it nicely if they are ignored by the tenant and they are in breach of a tribunal order and have to reappear at the tribunal.
    -The local council, as someone else rightly said, is the dog registered? in the ACT all dogs must be 'registered, micro-chipped and de-sexed', unless a permit is held for a sexually entire animal. Where they are in breach of your local laws, they may be fined if they do not comply with directions.
    -You also may find that the Tenancy Tribunal could be a 2 way street, you could look into if you are able to lodge at the tribunal, there will be a fee.
    -The body corp - everyone must abide by the body corp rules, where they don't the body corp can take action against the owner, who must rectify the issue with the tenant.

    note that where a person ignores directions by certain departments, they can be issued with a monetary penalty.
    The person lodging the complaint must be the person being affected by the issue (that's here at least),more people complaining the better.

    good luck..

  • +1 vote

    Just pull down your long johns and take a huge man dump on their front door. Situation resolved.
    Also look up "the poo jogger". He is an Australian legend.

  • +1 vote

    This caused a massive drama as the tenant wasn't supposed to have dogs and lied on the lease

    Not sure about other states, but this sounds like grounds for the property manager to lodge a notice to remedy breach. If they don't comply in the time frame then they can be evicted.

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