Tenants: Things you should know

Pets: neighborhood troubles!

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Pets: neighborhood troubles and the solutions


Are you being bothered by your neighbor's dog barking all day? Before heading to court, you have other possible solutions to end these noise nuisances.
Our pets have their moods! They scratch the coach and bark or cry when left alone at home. These dog barking problems have led the courts to consider its damages and to legislate on "abnormal neighborhood disturbances."

What does the law say?


Barking is generally considered an abnormal neighborhood disturbance and falls under the civil domain rather than the criminal one. The Civil Code, Article 1384 indicates in particular: "We are responsible not only for the damage of our actions but also for what is caused by the objects under our custody. 
The Public Health Code also applies with the article R1336-5: "No particular noise can disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood, no matter if it's in a public or private place, whether it's caused by the person or by their animal. "

Do I have any legal rights?

Also, for anyone embarrassed by a pet's behavior, there is the possibility to seek justice. However, the conciliator of justice comments: "Many people go to court without speaking to their neighbors. We are there to help solve the problem, but only if there is no possible discussion between neighbors". 
Therefore, before getting there, try to find an amicable solution by following these four tips:


1. Knock on your neighbor's door


Your neighbors may not know the inconvenience their pet has caused. Explain to them what you hear or see in the common areas. Stay friendly, tell them when you hear the bark, and explain sleeping difficulties. 

2. Send a letter


If the pet's owner does nothing to stop the disorder, despite your kind complaint and warning, send a simple letter asking them to stop this abnormal disturbance. If your neighbor does not comply, send the letter back by registered mail and give them a formal notice to take necessary action. Of course, this is not mandatory, but it will prove that you have contacted them and tried to resolve the conflict.

A bailiff's report or testimonials from neighbors can also support your approach.

Pet problem noise complaint letter:


How to write a letter to your neighbor about their barking dog? Here is a letter template to send registered as a formal notice to the owner of the barking dog. It should be worded as follows:

Despite our oral notice and the letter sent on [date], your dog repeats barking persistently and continues to disturb our peace.
Indeed, your pet barks [hours and days when barking is regular]. The testimonies of other neighbors can also corroborate our observation and confirm the validity of our request.
We want to keep good neighborly relations. Therefore, we give you a formal notice to stop this barking which constitutes a noise nuisance as per Article R1336-5 of the Public Health Code.
Otherwise, we will have to notify the competent authorities at the town hall or the municipal police. 
Waiting for you to take the necessary action,
Yours truly"

3. You can turn to the landlord of the apartment:

Prior formal notice before taking legal action is essential to weigh the judge's decision.
If the pet problem happens in a rented property, you can also write to your neighbor's landlord. "The owner must take necessary action and ensure the use of his property does not harm the neighborhood," as rental leases stipulate.
In the eyes of the law, a tenant who causes neighborhood disturbances may have his lease terminated.

Where can I complain about my neighbor’s dog? 


Report a noisy animal to the conciliator of the town hall:


Despite your letters and amicable oral notice to the landlord, you are getting nowhere. It is time to contact a conciliator in your municipality's town hall.
According to Article L. 2212-2-2° of the General Code of Local Authorities, it is the mayor's responsibility to ensure public tranquility.

How to file a complaint about a barking dog?

Referral to the justice conciliator is free. To contact the conciliator, you have to send him a letter or call him. You can also go to their offices. Contact your town hall or the district court to find out the timetables. During the first meeting, explain the situation to him.
The duration of the conciliation lasts three months, renewable once at the request of the conciliator. The latter most often organizes conciliation meetings at the very place where he holds his office, at the town hall, or the district court. However, he can also go to the place of the dispute and question neighbors.
In the absence of agreement, only legal recourse will make it possible to obtain the cessation of the nuisances. But rest assured, things will probably not go that far!

credit photo @Katja Bayer

Editor: Claire de Circourt
Sources: Journal du Net, Actu, Figaro