Help dealing with dog owner that leaves excrement outside my flats

by Readers Question

14:08 PM, 3rd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Help dealing with dog owner that leaves excrement outside my flats

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Help dealing with dog owner that leaves excrement outside my flats

I currently own 2 small flats in a block of 8. The block of flats is at the head of a cul-de-sac of semi detached, detached houses and bungalows. Built approx 30 years ago. Two of my properties are ground floor at the front of the property.

There are communal grounds at the front directly in front of my two flats. It appears one of the tenants has a dog which is fouling the piece of land directly in front of my flat. I have had a tenant move in only last week and he has already made a complaint to the letting agent about this and naturally he is unhappy.

My tenant has recently split from his wife and will want his children staying at the weekend and I assume he is concerned at the health implications as well as the unsightly appearance. The letting agent also commented that when she did viewings this dog was allowed to run unsupervised around the properties.

Please note there is NO management company in place so there is no-one to complain to.

On another note the occupant of the flat with the dog is renting the property and is not the owner. It is also on the ground floor and is directly behind my flat. The information I have is that he has also split from his wife, he doesn’t work and he also has his kids staying over the weekend. This has resulted in him leaving children’s items such as footballs bike carriers and other items such as old paint tubs etc etc which looks very untidy and unsightly.

I was advised to put up ‘official’ looking notices which I had professionally made that gave the appearance that they had been put up by a ‘management company’ advising that for health and safety and fire safety reasons could all the tenants please keep the corridors and alleyways free from personal items and debris. Sadly this has made no difference.

Has anyone got advice how to deal with this issue in a speedy and timely manner as I feel that I could lose a good tenant if not resolved.I am not sure if the council can help as it is on private land.

Thanks

Tonypooh



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:14 PM, 3rd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Tony,

Despite anything Mark A might say, I am not an expert in this field.

However, I would be very surprised on the grounds of Health and Safety, especially for children, if the Council were unwilling to assist. Have you spoken with them yet?

My first recommended course of action would be to always try a friendly chat with the tenant and or the Landlord. It is much easier to deal with any issues before people fall out and or get embarrassed by signs going up..

Monty Bodkin

19:11 PM, 3rd February 2015
About 4 years ago

What does the lease say about keeping pets?

Please note there is NO management company in place so there is no-one to complain to.

What have you done about it?

brian clement

0:44 AM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

I had same problems. I put up a sign 24"x12" simply saying Would you PLEASE not let your dog shit right outside my flat". ( you could say mess/crap or something more polite ). However it worked. They didn't start cleaning up the mess, they just let the dog crap outside another flat. A good result for me.
As for the rubbish, I started clearing and tidying the rubbish when I knew the offenders were at home and would see me doing it. I spoke to other tenants saying doesn't this look bad / why do people do this. The offenders got the message and removed it.
Why don't you get together with other owners and form a management company. In our block it required 4 owners and cost about £600. Your flats will increase in value as there will no longer be a defective title.

Tony the hairdresser

9:45 AM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Monty thanks for your comment. All my tenants are not allowed to keep pets unless they have prior approval from me. All my leases clearly state this. The resident with the dog is not my tenant so I have no way of knowing what his lease says. I am not sure how to find the contact details of his landlord either. With regards to the management company. In truth nothing I have no experience in relation to this issue. Most of the residents in the flats are tenants not owners. So to coordinate and organise could be a problem. However I do have good relations with one resident who is an owner occupier.
Thank you Brian for you comments. Can you explain what a defective title is? How much work is involved in setting up a managemnt company. Are there specialists you can approach?

Monty Bodkin

10:41 AM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony the hairdresser " at "04/02/2015 - 09:45":

Hello Tony,

The lease I refer to is the head lease for the block. All 8 owners will have one (including you) and be bound by its terms. They will all have very similar enforceable terms.

It is not your individual tenancy agreements.

It is a fair guess there will be a term in there about keeping pets or not causing a nuisance.

First thing to try is talking to the block Freeholder.

If that fails, find out the other owners by knocking on doors. Failing that pay £3 to land registry.

You then have 3 main options (assuming in England and Wales);

Right to Enfranchise
Right to Manage
Appoint a manager

Read through them here and also about the rest of your rights and responsibilities.

http://www.lease-advice.org/

Neil Patterson

11:04 AM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Tony,

This might help:

From >> http://www.environmentlaw.org.uk/rte.asp?id=50

Dog mess is an eyesore and a health hazard. If you are a dog owner, you have a legal duty to clean up every time your dog messes in a public place. Registered blind people are not required to clean up after their guide dogs. There is also exemption for dog owners on some kinds of public land, including:

Land used for agriculture or woodlands
Rural common land
Land that is predominantly marshland, moor or heath
Highways with a speed limit of 50mph or more

Most local councils require dog owners to carry a poop scoop and disposable bag whenever they take their dogs out to a public place. Some councils offer free scoops: ask your council’s animal warden unit.

Look out for bins marked as dog bins to dispose of your dog bag. If you cannot find a dog bin, then double wrap the dog bag and place it in a normal litter bin.

If your street is littered with dog mess, you can ask your local council to clean it. Councils now have more power to tackle public dog mess under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Legal measures to prevent dog mess are contained in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act , which repeals Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, allows local councils and communities to create byelaws relating to dog mess. Visit the Law Search page for full details.

Council can also issue dog control orders against individual dog owners for offences including allowing a dog to foul a public space.
Councils can issue fixed penalty orders in relation to dog control orders. Where there is no local rate, the fixed penalty is £75.
In very serious cases, magistrates can issue a maximum penalty of £1,000

ENCAMS, which runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign publishes a useful leaflet on Dog Fouling and the Law.

Tony the hairdresser

11:26 AM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Thanks Monty I will look into this.
Thanks Neil this is very useful.

brian clement

0:52 AM, 5th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hello Tony. I have been in the rental business for over 40 years and over 50% of my problems are due to dogs. I never allow dogs or any pets into my properties and evict them if they ignore me. However the lease on your flats will normally allow pets. Tracing the owner of this tenants flat can be difficult.
You said that your flats have no management company and there is no one to complain to. Is this to mean that no one can be bothered to do anything or is there actually no management company. In law a block of flats must have a management company to manage the running of the flats ie pay buildings insurance, cut the grass, communal lighting, communal repairs. If there is no management company the block of flats is known as having a defective title. This means that the flats are difficult or impossible to sell. They normally sell at auction for a fraction of the normal value. Did you get your flats cheap. Do you get a bill for maintaince. Do you pay your insurance direct to an insurance company.
I have 4 flats in a 1990 built block of 6 flats. The management company went bankrupt in 1995. They are worth £120000 each but sell for £40000 to £60000 to me or at auction.
You can do two things. Sit back and buy the flats cheap as the owners sell them or form your own management company with the other owners. In our case we would need 4 owners to form the management company. You simply go to a solicitor and get them to do it. It would cost us about £600 to £800. Then your new company would have to meet a few times a year and organise the running of all the flats.
Defective title properties are rare. Contact the land registry and ask them. I think its free.

brian clement

1:11 AM, 5th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "brian clement" at "04/02/2015 - 00:44":

Hi Tony. Your lease will say that dogs/pets are allowed in the flats. You can say no pets in your tenancy agreement but other tenants may not and they are doing nothing wrong. My policy is never ever rent to pet owners and evict them if they ignore me.
A defective title is where a block of flats really doesn't have a management company. I have flats in a block where the management company went bankrupt. A block of flats has to in Law have a registered management company. Who cuts your grass, who does repairs to the building, who do you pay your flat insurance to, who does the communal lighting, did you buy your flats very cheap, do you pay maintenance ? If no one is doing this then your block of flats has a defective title. You may have a management company that just cant be bothered to do anything

David Aneurin

16:52 PM, 5th February 2015
About 4 years ago

In this case there may not be a defective title. If the Management Company owned the freehold and then was dissolved then the freehold reverts to the Treasury solicitor, which will cause a problem. If the Management Company did not own the freehold but was dissolved then that itself should not cause a defective title but problems in management.
The first thing to establish is "who is the freeholder". You may be luck if the name and address is shown on Land Registry documents (£3 for each document), or more research may have to be made. If you can find the freeholder you can then discuss the management of the block.
There are so many options the best source of information is "Lease" http://www.lease-advice.org as there is a lot of information or even telephone them where you get to speak to a lawyer free of charge.

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