What To Do When a Neighbor’s Dog Won’t Stop Barking

We don’t deserve dogs. They’re the best. They’re all feet and ears and unconditional love. But sometimes they can be noisy.

Dogs bark for lots of reasons.

Sometimes they’re alone in the house and they’re scared. Sometimes they’re bored and want attention.

Regardless of the reason, barking dogs are annoying. Annoying for the owners, but perhaps even more annoying for the neighbors.

How to deal with a neighbor’s dog barking

Like a lot of folks, you’re probably spending a lot more time at home. And while you’ve mostly adjusted to life at home, the incessant dog barking a few apartments down is driving you up the walls.

It’s one thing if it’s your own dog that’s barking like crazy. You know how to deal with that. But what do you do when your neighbor’s dog is barking?

barking dogs

1. Drown it out

Assuming this isn’t a regular occurrence and not too much of an inconvenience, just ignore it. If you can raise the volume two clicks on the remote and not cause more of a racket, then do it and let it slide.

That’s not to say it’s entirely worth ignoring. If it’s causing enough of a disturbance to your quality of life, then it’s a good idea to address it head on. But before you do so, take a moment and decide how you want to approach it.

2. Distract the dog

This part is about as easy as it sounds. If this dog is staring through the window and into your home when it sees you doing yoga through the window, just close the blinds or otherwise obstruct the dog’s view. Dogs will bark at anything they see, so if the dog can’t see you, eventually, it will lose interest and walk away.

Then, you can continue on with your crow pose.

3. Use high-pitched sounds

If possible, pick up a dog whistle or high pitched remote alarm. Whenever you hear the dog barking, blow the whistle or activate the alarm and the dog will stop barking. This is essentially training the dog, so be patient. This will take some time. Your persistence will be rewarded.

It’s also important to stop using these when the dog stops barking. A dog that barks non-stop is a terrible nuisance, but the dog is only barking because it doesn’t know that it shouldn’t.

barking dogs

4. Involve the dog’s human

The first course of action is to politely and calmly speak with the neighbor who owns the dog and explain the situation. A peaceful and respectful conversation will end 99 percent of personal conflicts. If you’re not comfortable with a face to face, a civil and respectful note under their door with your name and number is another way to go. If you want the issue resolved, leaving an anonymous note could be seen as antagonistic.

Dog owners aren’t necessarily unreasonable people. And they don’t want their best friend to get on everyone’s nerves. It’s also entirely possible they may not even know they have a noisy dog, especially if the dog only barks when they’re out. Any responsible pet owner will immediately take steps to fix the situation.

5. Loop in your landlord

Apartment complexes and lease agreements have sections that specifically address a problem pet. If a note under the door or a quick conversation by the mailboxes didn’t address the issue, it’s time to bring in some other people.

Tell the community agent in your building’s front office or email your landlord. Let them know you had a conversation with the neighbor to no avail. Be prepared to provide specific documentation, including times when the neighbor’s dog is barking. If possible, a time-stamped audio recording of the incessant noise will also bolster your complaint. Landlords have ironclad rules when it comes to pet owners, who could be subject to fines or eviction.

6. Consider your legal options

If you need outside assistance, there are professional and volunteer mediators who will agree to hear both sides and issue a decision. This is outside the justice system, so the decision doesn’t have the weight of the court behind it. But as long as everyone enters into it in good faith, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Some municipalities will even offer a small claims mediation process to fast track civil disputes. It saves money and time from navigating the small claims court system, which is complicated and drawn out. Binding arbitration is similar in that it’s outside the court system, but is still overseen by a judge and argued by attorneys. A binding arbitration is not held in a courtroom, but breaking the agreement would make you liable.

animal control

7. Call animal control

Different municipalities have different rules about animal control departments responding to noisy dog calls, so do a little research before you pick up the phone. Animal Control will typically only come out for specific reasons.

Always call Animal Control if you see an injured animal or if a domesticated pet like a cat or dog is unusually reactive or aggressive. However, if there are no signs of abuse, you should first try our other steps before resorting to this option.

Politeness and persistence pay off when your neighbor’s dog is barking

Dogs make our lives better in so many ways. We love them, even when they get on our nerves. So, when you address this particular problem, keep in mind that it’s someone’s “fur baby” we’re talking about here. If you can, engage with the neighbor’s barking dog regularly in the neighborhood. If the dog associates you with “friend,” then it won’t be so loud and reactive when it sees you.

And when engaging with the neighbor on this topic, show empathy and calm. Anyone would be embarrassed and stressed out to be on the receiving end of this conversation, and people react differently to situations like this. Cooler heads always prevail and when everyone is friends, that means more ear scritches and tummy rubs to go around.

Source: rent.com

How To Sign a Lease on an Apartment You’ve Never Set Foot In

You finally found The One! After doing the virtual legwork to search for an apartment, you’re ready to take the plunge and sign on the dotted line. But how do you sign a lease on an apartment that you’ve yet to see in person?

“The virtual leasing process doesn’t need to be all that different than if you were able to tour it in person,” says Laurence Jankelow, co-founder and chief operating officer of Avail, an online rental management service.

“Once the virtual showing has been done through Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts, the rest can be done online as well,” he says.

Online applications, credit checks, and deposit payments can make the process of leasing an apartment easier for both renters and landlords or property managers. Even if shelter-in-place orders are keeping you from touring an apartment firsthand, here’s how signing a lease from home would work.

By email

Pre-pandemic, some landlords or property managers may have been slow to embrace technology, but the new normal has forced them to get up to speed. This means leases can be sent to you by email, signed by you, scanned or photographed, and emailed back. You also may have the option of mailing your signed lease.

Some landlords will ask tenants to sign a document stating that they understand the risk of renting an apartment sight unseen, to avoid liability in case the tenant is disappointed in the actual apartment. Experts recommend tenants read the lease carefully and not rush to sign until they are satisfied that all of their questions have been answered.

“Renters should be cautious of any hidden fees above and beyond rent. Some buildings have additional charges for amenities like gym, pool, and parking,” says Liz Goldman with William Raveis Real Estate in Connecticut.

Goldman advises tenants, if not using a real estate agent, to consult an attorney before signing if they don’t understand the terms of the lease. Be sure to keep a copy of all the paperwork that you and the landlord sign as they are official documents.

Rental property website

Many apartment complexes offer the option of signing the lease through the property’s website. But before signing the lease, experts recommend that tenants know the exact location of the apartment being rented and to ask to see it, rather than just a model.

“They are entering in a legally binding contract, so they need to make sure they are comfortable with everything outlined in the lease,” says Adam Goldfarb, chief operating officer at Manco Abbott Real Estate Management and president-elect for the California Apartment Association’s board of directors.

Once you decide to rent the apartment, you can visit the property’s website to begin the process to sign the lease.

For example, at one of Goldfarb’s properties, tenants would go through their general leasing procedures by logging on to the portal, filling out an electronic application, and uploading necessary documents that the on-site staff would review. Then the staff would process the application and schedule the move-in.

“At time of move-in, we would need to verify that our future resident is the person that applied, given the ID that was uploaded,” says Goldfarb.

Digital signature software

Under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000, digital signatures are legally binding, just like written signatures. Digital signatures allow tenants to sign leases no matter where they are located. Any updates on changes are automatically sent to both parties.

“Digital leases that are state-specific automatically update based on real-time changes to the laws, and can be signed digitally, doing away with the process of printing and faxing documents—or the need to sign a lease in person amid the pandemic,” says Jankelow.

He says the largest risk isn’t the online process of leasing, but rather fraudulent landlords who don’t really manage or own the property. He says renters need to be certain that they’re talking to the real landlord before they sign a lease or pay any money.

“When it comes time to pay the first month’s rent or deposit, never, ever wire money. Wires are nonreturnable. Instead, paying with ACH or credit card, or through a secure, online platform for landlords, is probably the best option,” says Jankelow.

Some common and secure online tools renters use to pay rent and deposits include Yardi, Buildium, AppFolio, and Avail.

Source: realtor.com

6 Situations When Breaking Your Lease Makes Sense

While breaking a lease is generally a big no-no, sometimes there’s no way around it. Life happens, and certain circumstances might warrant getting out of your rental situation.

Breaking a lease can be complicated, and it can be costly,” says Dylan Lenz, CEO of Naborly, a modern-day property management software for landlords. “The lease agreement from your landlord and local regulations will have specific details around how to break your lease, what penalties you’ll be tied to, and which situations allow for it.”

Each state and city has its own set of regulations for terminating a lease, so do some research before moving forward. You should also read your rental agreement to see what it says about breaking your lease. Doing so will help you avoid a slew of issues, including a lawsuit by your landlord to recover outstanding rent, debt collectors, damaged credit, and problems finding new housing.

Is it really time to break your lease? Here are six situations where it may make sense to do so.

1. New job

Yes, relocating for a job is a fully legit reason to break a lease. But tenants should be well-prepared before they talk to their landlord.

Since you’re still legally on the hook for rent payments lasting the duration of your lease, broker Bill Kowalczuk of Warburg Realty in New York says to minimize the chance of losing too much money,  tenants should try to find a new tenant on their own. And they should do so before telling their landlord they need to break the lease.

“I just had this happen with a property I represent,” says Kowalczuk. “The existing tenant found someone new to move in, who would pay $150 less than what they were paying. So the tenant who was leaving made up the difference for the amount of time left on her lease. Everyone was happy.”

2. Financial hardship

A significant change in your financial situation is reason enough to break a lease. The hope is that your landlord will take your circumstances into account and won’t charge you a penalty for breaking the lease—so documenting evidence of your hardship is important.

“The pandemic has rocked our economy, and we’re seeing a surge of layoffs and furloughs,” says Lenz. “People are in difficult financial situations right now and are making big decisions because of it, like moving back home or opting for a small, cheaper apartment.”

If you’ve experienced financial difficulties from unexpected job loss, you can always try to negotiate a deferred rent payment plan with your landlord instead of breaking your lease.

3. Bad landlord or unit

Several states have constructive eviction laws that allow renters to move out without penalty when a landlord does not provide habitable housing.

One example: “A tenant is entitled to break a lease where a unit is unwarranted (illegal) and does not have a certificate of occupancy on file with the city,” says Joseph Tobener, a tenant rights lawyer at Tobener Ravenscroft in San Jose, CA.

Tobener says another justified reason to break a lease is the landlord hasn’t provided repairs and the broken amenities are substantially interfering with the tenancy.

“To break a lease for substantial interference, the issues have to be serious, like no heat, sewage overflows, constant late-night noise issues, or cockroaches and rodents,” says Tobener.

4. Buying a new house

You’ve dreamed of owning a house since forever, but you’re stuck in a lease. Still, the promise of homeownership may be too good to pass up (hello, low interest mortgage rates!) and you have to break your lease. So what penalties would you face?

If you are thinking of buying a home, keep the lines of communication open with your landlord. You may be able to work out a cash payment to buy your way out of a lease. Some leases have “home-buying” clauses, which allow tenants to jump ship early for a small fee.

5. Divorce

Divorce can get sticky, especially when it comes to working out all the details, including living arrangements.

If living together to ride out the lease isn’t an option, experts suggest working with a legal representative to draft and sign a lease transfer agreement that places all the tenant obligations, such as full payment of outstanding rent, to the spouse still residing in the unit.

6. Military assignment

You just moved into a sweet pad, but three weeks later you receive orders for a new military assignment. Fortunately, a federal law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is on your side and allows active-duty members to break their lease for official military orders.

Active-duty members must provide their landlord with a written notice of their plans to vacate and a copy of their official military orders for a change of station for more than 90 days. They will typically have to continue to pay rent for the remainder of the month and the next month.

“The most important steps to take are to be aware of what’s in your lease agreement and spark an open line of communication with your landlord early to get the best result for both parties,” says Lenz.

Source: realtor.com