Pet ownership is a labor of love. It is also a responsibility. While those who own animals feel their furry friends are worth any trouble or inconvenience they may cause, others may not agree— and this is often when disputes arise.
For condo owners and tenants, responsible pet ownership is of utmost importance, since a large number of people are living within close proximity to one another. As in any situation where multiple perspectives must be taken into account, compromise and consideration are required to create an enjoyable living environment for all.
Unfortunately, however, many pet owners still fail to respect their condo pet policy, allowing their animals to become a nuisance to others living around them.
So, what can Alberta condo owners do to address these situations?
We recommend following the steps below.
3 Steps for Dealing With Negligent Pet Owners in Condos
1. Research The Rules
It’s important to familiarize yourself with both your condo board policy and your city bylaws, as regulations can vary from place to place and property to property.
In both Edmonton and Calgary, for example, pet owners are legally required to ensure their dog doesn’t bark, howl, or disturb anyone. But this may not be the case in every community.
Some condo communities also have policies regarding how many pets can live in a single unit, leaving pets unattended on patios or balconies, covering any costs should a pet damage common property, and whether or not guests are allowed to bring pets into the building.
Because rules can differ so significantly, it is always best to start by gathering the facts.
2. Document Each Disturbance
After you have confirmed your condo pet policy and local bylaws, the next step is to be diligent in documenting any disturbances or problematic behavior.
Some examples of disturbances that could result in legitimate pet disputes include:
- Frequent barking or howling
- Animals roaming free or being left unattended
- Failure to pick up pet waste
- Not adhering to pet count limits (per unit)
- Failure to register pets with condo association
- Owning a restricted pet breed (i.e. Pitbulls, Rottweilers, exotic animals, etc.)
When possible, tenants are encouraged to take photos of any violations to condo pet restrictions and policies. It’s also advisable to document the time and date of any disturbances, so that your condo board or property manager can investigate further.
3. Know When to Make a Formal Complaint
As is the case with any dispute, condo boards and management companies often encourage condo owners to settle disagreements amicably by having a conversation. If you notice your neighbour is violating your condo pet policy, it never hurts to approach them and share a gentle reminder.
Of course, if the behavior continues despite your best efforts to resolve the issue, then further action is justified. This is when it’s a good idea to contact your condo association or property management company.
Most condo tenants want to practice responsible pet ownership. Remember that pets sometimes bark or escape from a backyard— even under the watchful eye of a dedicated pet owner. For this reason, we encourage tenants to try to be understanding and give their neighbours a little leniency if the behavior is not a regular occurrence.
Remember that your condo board and municipal bylaw enforcement can utilize fines and other penalties to ensure your neighbours comply with any applicable rules and regulations.
After you have submitted a formal complaint, it is best to allow these professionals to carry out their enforcement process. You may or may not receive an update regarding the status of any punitive measures, but hopefully you will notice a change in your neighbour’s actions.
If you have made a formal complaint and the issue has not been resolved we recommend that you email your condo board members or property manager to request an update. The board may be tight-lipped because they are in the process of administering a fine or taking further action. Furthermore, they may simply be gathering more information, speaking to other tenants, or dealing with another emergency (with the intent of returning to your request ASAP). Nine times out of 10, if you give your condo board of management company a little time to respond, you’ll get the answers you need.
Could your condo community benefit from streamlined property management services? Are you overwhelmed by tenant complaints and requests? At Catalyst, we’re dedicated to providing our clients with peace of mind, transparency, and enjoyable condo management services. Why not give us a try?