Q: Our privately owned house is attached to a rented property. During COVID lockdown when the tenants were furloughed, they got a puppy which is now nine months old. All was fine until the tenants returned to work and left the dog alone all day. Since then, it has barked all day, every weekday. As my wife and I work from home the situation is untenable. We spoke to the tenants and to the managing agent, who says he has sent them a letter, but still it continues. We also phoned the council who similarly said they would send out a letter. Is there anything further we can before we consider moving?
A: Sadly, your complaint is heading towards becoming commonplace as huge numbers of dogs acquired during lockdown are now being left on their own all day and objecting! If the noise persists and it meets the criteria that renders it a statutory nuisance, the local authority is under an obligation to serve an abatement notice on the owner of the property. Non-compliance with an abatement notice could result in your neighbours’ landlord being prosecuted and fined. This is however likely to be a lengthy process.
Alternatively, you could take matters into your own hands and commence proceedings in the county court or magistrates’ court. Sending the required ‘letter before claim’ to the property a minimum of three days prior to commencing any proceedings may just be the added pressure that will lead to ending the noise.
If proceedings in the court are successful, the court can make an order requiring the nuisance to be abated and prohibiting a repeat of the nuisance. They can impose fines of up to £5,000 for residential properties and £20,000 for business premises. If the case is successful, the court may award you costs in the case. For further advice, you should speak to your solicitor about taking things forward.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call Wrexham 01978 291456 or Oswestry 01691 659194. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.