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Help & thoughts needed

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dylanc13dylanc13 Forumite
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Hey everyone, First Post here. Hope you're all keeping well. I have a little issue that I feel completely blind sighted by.

Back in September/November a couple moved into the downstairs flat in our building. Bare in mind me and my partner are the only ones in a building of 6 that own our flat - the other 3 occupied flats are rented.
My partner and I are the only ones in the building that do the gardening, cleaning of building and general upkeep. All at our own expenses and time.

At the point of wanting to get a pet (3 years ago) we ran it by all the tenants in the building, but there's one 1 tenant now that we spoke to back then that still lives here. So now it would be up to the letting agent or landlord to pass on that there are dogs in the building?

We are owners 2 amazing dogs that the other tenants seem to like and enjoy petting when we see them. There had been no issues until the new neighbours moved in. We occasionally use the back communal garden to let the dogs out. But we always walk them or go on forest walks when we can. We always pick up after them immediately in the garden, dispose their fould daily too and again are the only ones who do anything for the building/garden.

So when the new neighbours moved in, 2 days in and we received a letter from the council and dog warden saying that there had been a complaint about dog foul not being lifted.
This took us by surprise. We definitely always clear up after the dogs and don't understand why they would complain.

So we bumped into the couple 2/3 weeks ago and they pointed out to us that 'do you think the garden is a place for a dog to pee or poo' ... 'I hate when I'm making my morning coffee and can see them doing their business out back' ... I stated that it isn't illegal for a dog to pee anywhere and that their argument is invalid because we ALWAYS clear up any foul. (Including the fox foul which no other tenant clears up)! AT THIS MOMENT - I KID YOU NOT! SHE STATED 'YES I SEE YOU CLEAN UP AFTER THE DOGS' ... so what is their issue? Baffled

Fast forward to today, we recieve an email from the council stating that they have complained again and have now involved our local MP... stating that dog foul is still not being lifted. I'm becoming very impatient and angry at this point. Why continue to complain when there is no issue.

I feel that they don't like dogs and are hoping the more they complain - we will move out. They don't know that we own our flat and probably think we rent. They haven't taken anytime to get to know anyone and are aggravating other tenants too.

Now my question to anyone reading this is, what can I do to stop being wrongfully accused for not lifting dog foul. I feel extremely harassed now. Will the council or environmental health come out to inspect or as its private property - what can we do?

Can I complain to their landlord and say I feel harassed?
Should I get the other tenants in the building to put in writing that they are fine with us using the garden occasionally for the dogs?

Literally confused and upset at this point.

Anyone ever been in this situation? What was the result? 
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Replies

  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    dylanc13 said:
    Hey everyone, First Post here. Hope you're all keeping well. I have a little issue that I feel completely blind sighted by.

    Back in September/November a couple moved into the downstairs flat in our building. Bare in mind me and my partner are the only ones in a building of 6 that own our flat - the other 3 occupied flats are rented.
    My partner and I are the only ones in the building that do the gardening, cleaning of building and general upkeep. All at our own expenses and time.

    At the point of wanting to get a pet (3 years ago) we ran it by all the tenants in the building, but there's one 1 tenant now that we spoke to back then that still lives here. So now it would be up to the letting agent or landlord to pass on that there are dogs in the building?

    We are owners 2 amazing dogs that the other tenants seem to like and enjoy petting when we see them. There had been no issues until the new neighbours moved in. We occasionally use the back communal garden to let the dogs out. But we always walk them or go on forest walks when we can. We always pick up after them immediately in the garden, dispose their fould daily too and again are the only ones who do anything for the building/garden.

    So when the new neighbours moved in, 2 days in and we received a letter from the council and dog warden saying that there had been a complaint about dog foul not being lifted.
    This took us by surprise. We definitely always clear up after the dogs and don't understand why they would complain.

    So we bumped into the couple 2/3 weeks ago and they pointed out to us that 'do you think the garden is a place for a dog to pee or poo' ... 'I hate when I'm making my morning coffee and can see them doing their business out back' ... I stated that it isn't illegal for a dog to pee anywhere and that their argument is invalid because we ALWAYS clear up any foul. (Including the fox foul which no other tenant clears up)! AT THIS MOMENT - I KID YOU NOT! SHE STATED 'YES I SEE YOU CLEAN UP AFTER THE DOGS' ... so what is their issue? Baffled

    Fast forward to today, we recieve an email from the council stating that they have complained again and have now involved our local MP... stating that dog foul is still not being lifted. I'm becoming very impatient and angry at this point. Why continue to complain when there is no issue.

    I feel that they don't like dogs and are hoping the more they complain - we will move out. They don't know that we own our flat and probably think we rent. They haven't taken anytime to get to know anyone and are aggravating other tenants too.

    Now my question to anyone reading this is, what can I do to stop being wrongfully accused for not lifting dog foul. I feel extremely harassed now. Will the council or environmental health come out to inspect or as its private property - what can we do?

    Can I complain to their landlord and say I feel harassed?
    Should I get the other tenants in the building to put in writing that they are fine with us using the garden occasionally for the dogs?

    Literally confused and upset at this point.

    Anyone ever been in this situation? What was the result? 
    I would give the council a call and tell them your side.

    If all previous leaseholders and the freeholder (not tenants) had non-issue with you having dogs, then the leaseholder needs to tell their tenants this.

    Environmental Health may inspect yes.....but I expect they have better things to do right now.

    They would normally expect evidence to be provided.

    Sounds like your neighbours aren't in agreement with them. Perhaps they would support you in writing also?


  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    Does  the council dog warden have any jurisdiction in a private garden?
    is it a communal garden and a council block of flats?
  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    sheramber said:
    Does  the council dog warden have any jurisdiction in a private garden?
    is it a communal garden and a council block of flats?
     It's a communal garden not private according to OP.

    Even if private Environmental Health can get involved if causing a nuisance or environmental issue.
  • Soot2006Soot2006 Forumite
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    Surely a communal garden is still a private garden? I.e. not open to the public, but shared with other leaseholders.

    OP, have you responded to the letters you received. In any case, you should categorically deny the accusations.  Make sure the other leaseholders are aware of the dispute with this tenant; then go about your life and ignore them and make sure that there is absolutely nothing they can hold against your dogs.

    Sounds like they probably don't know the difference between dog poo and fox poo ...
  • edited 8 January at 12:28PM
    HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    edited 8 January at 12:28PM
    Soot2006 said:
    Surely a communal garden is still a private garden? I.e. not open to the public, but shared with other leaseholders.

    OP, have you responded to the letters you received. In any case, you should categorically deny the accusations.  Make sure the other leaseholders are aware of the dispute with this tenant; then go about your life and ignore them and make sure that there is absolutely nothing they can hold against your dogs.

    Sounds like they probably don't know the difference between dog poo and fox poo ...
    Yes. Environmental health don't only deal with council tenants or public land. They deal with homeowners and private tenants too

    Which is why it's best the call the number on the letter and have a chat
  • ladyhollyladyholly Forumite
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    If they have involved your MP I would also send him/her a copy of any correspondance or report of phone calls you have with the council. It might also be worth having a talk with your other neighbours and see if they will back you in any way. I do realise this is asking a lot of them as they have to live with the new people. Is there anywhere else you can take the dogs to toilet them for the sake of peace and quiet?
  • princeofpoundsprinceofpounds Forumite
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    You need to clarify who the freeholder of the flats is, as they seem rather absent in your story despite being the most important entity (apart from environmental health if you end up far enough down that track) - is it the council? Or a private block? What does your long lease say about pets?

    But I agree with the others - it's probably best not to allow your pets to foul in the communal garden if someone objects (or even if they don't object, actually - they shouldn't have to). Totally understand that you clean up the faeces responsibly, and that's great. But if you owned a house, and someone walked into your garden, let the dog do its business, picked it up and walked out, it wouldn't feel comfortable. This garden belongs to those people too. Plus you don't actually clear up the urine (as harmless as it is, unless it's damaging the grass). If you had a baby and wanted to let it crawl on the grass, it wouldn't feel great.

    As for the lies -  just state your case, briefly and without emotion. The dog mess has always been lifted, every day, and as a result there have been no complaints in the preceding X years of occupation. You understand that the presumed complainant is exaggerating their claims because they do not like the dogs being in the garden. You have spoken to them directly to try to address their concerns and they confirmed that. 

    If you can have a conversation that you record where they admit to it again, that would be useful if environmental health really do get involved at some stage. I suspect they will be highly reluctant to do so however, without visual evidence that you are indeed causing a problem.
  • DireEmblemDireEmblem Forumite
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    Just found this thread, but potentially from another side of a similar story.

    We have a garden that is worn out through use which is understandable given the past year, and we are trying to bring back the lawn for all to use in the British summer if we get one.  We have asked all residents if they could limit the use of the garden where possible to 'off' the lawn, to allow the fresh seed a chance to grow for the next few weeks as advised by a local gardener.  One of the residents has said they will not participate in this(with a dog).

    We do not mind pets in the garden at all, but there is a 'poo' box which smells in the summer, and the garden is used daily as a toilet.  They have started to water down what is left of the grass after their pets go, so that is something.

    The OP situation here sounds like they take much better care of things from the other side.

    Our nearest public park is 50 metres away, the second 90 metres away that has a council poo box.

    I guess the difficult thing is, you need to live with your neighbours, but there also needs to be some compromise so where do you draw the line.  If they dont feel safe late at night taking their dog out of the grounds for their doo, then fair enough use the garden, but there is a pavement in the garden too.

    Our title deeds are really old fashioned, and the law is simple, the shared common space is to be used for the bleaching and drying of clothes only.  This is rather old fashioned and strict and ideally do not want to enforce this.  I assume the OP also has similar that may need to be considered for their situation.

    We would like people to feel free to use our garden, sit out in the sun, play with their pets, have a bbq with friends.

    How do you get residents to recognise anything they do or not do to help, impacts everyone?  I mean, do we just ask them - would you sit on grass that has been pee'd on, let the kids in the building play on it?  Are you happy to have a mud garden rather than a lawn?  I dont know if that kind of blunt question would get through to them as they wouldn't sit on the grass so wouldn't impact them.
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