It's post-pandemic, and now you get the joys of working from home. No commute, you can sleep in, sometimes, you even wear pajamas to your meetings. Who sees what pants you are wearing on your Zoom or Teams meetings anyway, right? Sometimes, you may even get away with not showing the camera, or using Zoom to do your make-up for you.
Until, that dog. The little yappy dog next door...he just will not stop making noise. One moment, it's whining. Next, it's crying, then, it's barking.
You walk over to the door and try to talk to him, even give a little tap to tell him it's ok. You hear him jump up and scratch on the door. "Great," you think to yourself. "Now he wants to play. But how am I ever going to get any work done...or peace around here?"
But more importantly, you ask yourself, "How can my Community Manager help me?"
Talk to your neighbor. Before involving the manager as the mediator, the best step between neighbors at Condominiums, Homeowners Associations, and Planned Communities is to talk to your neighbor. He/She/They may not know that the dog is creating an issue for you - especially if he/she/they are not home during the day. Not everyone has the privilege of having a doggie cam or the ability to check it. Start with a conversation and see how it goes. You might make a really good friend in the process!
Contact your manager. If you have tried talking to your neighbor, or you do not have their contact information, contact your manager and see if your manager can give it a whirl. Sometimes a friendly call from the manager makes your neighbor know that the complaint is "serious enough" to warrant attention, but it is not a "nasty violation letter" which has to mention next steps, including fines.
Violation of the Rules. If contacting the neighbor yourself, and the nice communication from the manager does not work, the next step is a warning letter saying that the dog is creating a nuisance, which is a violation of the Community's Rules and Regulations. This is an official letter that is connected to the Unit Owner's account and mentions penalties in the future (fines) if the failure to correct the nuisance is not resolved. In this case, the dog needs to stop creating noise at all hours of the day, repeatedly.
Additional Violations - with fines. Yes - those continued violation letters with repeat incidents carry penalties, or fines. These fines are issued against the unit owner's account and are collected as a penalty against the unit owner. Some unit owners comply very quickly when fined; others ignore it. But fines can be collected in court and also at resale. They are a strong deterrent for rule breakers.
Animal Rights Activists. If a dog is barking, crying, and whining all day, the dog may not be in the best care. You, as a neighbor (not your Community Manager), could report the animal for suspected abuse, and see if a local animal rights group could provide assistance.
Summary: Homeowners move into a planned community to enjoy peaceful living. All unit owners agree to the same Rules and Regulations upon moving into the Association and are bound by those rules. Sometimes, a homeowner may forget a rule, or may not realize that they are breaking it. It is always best to approach a neighbor with a neighbor-to-neighbor issue first, before involving your management company. It is better received and feels less formal. However, your management company is here to help you if you are not able to amicably solve the problem together through kind steps as well as rule enforcement.
Bricck Property Management is a boutique property management firm with corporate offices in King of Prussia, PA and a satellite office in Fort Lauderale, FL. Bricck provides best-in-class property management services to Condominiums, Homeowner's Associations, and Planned Communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida. Contact us today for a cost efficient and high customer service level proposal today!