Purchased an apartment and now one of the tenants has an issue with our dog

39 posts in this topic

Hi Everyone,

We purchased an apartment in Hamburg a year ago, especially with a backyard to finally have a dog. When we asked the broker, he said that there would be no issue with bringing in a pet. We also did not see the house rules and regulations before signing the mortgage and the documents that legally bind us to buying the place.

 

A few months after moving in, receiving several letters from the building management - all of which are regarding payments, and none about the house regulations, we adopted a small dog (Maltese mix, 7ish kg), which we have been taking to extensive training since pretty much the beginning.

 

I work in home-office, but there have been exactly 2 occasions where we had to leave the house both me and my wife, and the dog was allegedly barking and bothering just one of the 5 other tenants in the building. Surprisingly, it is the only neighbor that expressly said she hates dogs.

 

Now we're approaching a tenants gathering meeting, and our dog is on the agenda there, apparently with a quote from the house regulations (a document which we've never seen before, otherwise we would definitely not have purchased this apartment!) saying that the tenants of the building are not allowed to have pets.

 

We are extremely concerned, and wanted to know if anyone has experience on what to do in such situations.

Obviously we are tied to a very long mortgage here, and cannot just up and look for another place to live.

 

We truly hope the are laws and rules that protect us from pesky German neighbors and their general misanthropy. 

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https://herz-fuer-tiere.de/haustiere/tierhaltung-in-der-eigentumswohnung

 

According to that a vote by the Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft to impose a total ban on pets must be unanimous. You should ask to see the minutes of the AGM where this happened, if they try to force you to give up the dog. If it wasn't a unanimous vote, perhaps it's not a valid clause but really you should request a copy of the Hausordnung already so you can familiarise yourself with it. Don't wait until you're in the lion's den so to speak.

 

Are there any other pets in the building?

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There are no other pets in the building, but no one was annoyed when we brought our dog over.

If anything, some of the neighbors really love him!

In the letter about the upcoming tenants gathering, the house management only quoted (from a document they never bothered sharing with us) stating this:
§ IV, ist die Hundehaltung nur nach mehrheitsbeschluss der Wohnungseigentümer zulässig.

 

And we're honestly stressed now that we will be forced to remove the dog because of this.

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The property management will assume that you knew that document, and you should have known it. I bet it's referred to in your purchase contract. I'd try to talk the other owners (not their tenants) into giving their permission.

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Most of us love dogs until they are left at home and barking or just bark all the time in general.

 

This is a tough one. I wish you luck.

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Yep. If it's just this one person that's a problem and the others are ok with your dog, you should be able to convince them to vote in your favour. But the other neighbour will probably be trying to convince the other owners with the point fraufruit makes: the dog may not bark now but might in the future and then we are stuck with it. I can understand the annoyance of that other owner by the way: Look at it from their perspective. There's a set of rules that every apartment block in Germany has and you didn't familiarise yourself with the established rules before breaking them. Best of luck. I hope you can resolve it amicably but if the dog does become a nuisance, you should find a more suitable home for it or move.

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If anyone is the nuisance in this case, it is the particular dog-haters, not the dog.

As I said, I work from home constantly. The dog was never in the 9 months of staying with us left alone besides 2 occasions when he may or may not have barked, according to only one tenant who admittedly hates dogs, and has a motivation to get rid of it. None of the other tenants ever had any issues with the dog, they are all happy to play with him, and happy to have him around.

The dog barks. All dogs do. It is never more than a single bark before we shush it. If we call this a nuisance, then we should absolutely ban child birth!

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well, the Mehrheitsbeschluss can prohibit dogs (or cats) specifically - but this can be faught in court and will most likely decided in your favor:

https://www.haufe.de/recht/deutsches-anwalt-office-premium/tierhaltung-weg_idesk_PI17574_HI637225.html

 

Quote

Kein Verbot durch Mehrheitsbeschluss

Ein Mehrheitsbeschluss nach § 15 Abs. 2 WEG kann die Haustierhaltung nicht generell verbieten. Ein derartiger Beschluss ist wegen Eingriffs in den Kernbereich des Sondereigentums nichtig. Dies gilt allerdings nicht für ein lediglich mehrheitlich beschlossenes Verbot der Hunde- und Katzenhaltung. Ein derartiger Beschluss ist jedoch anfechtbar und würde auf entsprechende Klage hin in aller Regel für unwirksam erklärt werden.

 

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33 minutes ago, venomman said:

The dog barks. All dogs do.

Not true. Well-trained dogs do not bark. 

 

Germany is a dog-loving country, so I doubt they can enforce a ban on the dog, but you should invest more in the training. The neighbour can still sue you for the noise, do not wait until this happens. 

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Well this one is hardly barking day and night.

 

Our neighbours have bought a rat-on-a-string type of dog which looks cute enough, but it gets put in the garden on a busy corner and 'barks'* at everything that comes past, for protracted periods, multiple times a day.

 

We really like dogs, but we all hate this thing. We keep reminding ourselves that it is not the dog's fault, but honestly, it is enough to try the patience of a saint.

 

The neighbour in this instance is being pretty unpleasant -  

1 hour ago, jeba said:

I'd try to talk the other owners (not their tenants) into giving their permission.

That I think may be your best approach. 

 

*'barks' is an ear piercing squeak in this case. It is awful. Happening right now.

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Oh the joy of neighbours. I have such fond memories of Munich Bogenhausen. ;)

 

This could escalate and really spoil your future enjoyment of your property. A defensive attitude is not advisable. Humble and conciliatory the way to go.

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It's not up to the tenants, but the owners to take a vote on the subject. 

And your quote doesn't say that all dogs are prohibited, just that you need a majority vote of the owners to allow it. I suggest you address this topic before the meeting with any owners you can reach to get them on your side AND make sure that they attend the meeting. 

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7 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

get a bigger dog - those little Maltese or similar have a really high-pitched, annoying bark

 

Some of them do.  Friends of mine have 3 dogs, one of them a mini-maltese and she has the voice of a much bigger dog.  However, still annoying.  I don't think they'd be willing to swap out a dog they've had for 9 months though.

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I have had the experience of a neighbour in an apartment building with a small, very sweet dog.  When the neighbour  left for her 12 hour shift, the dog barked, whined, scratched at the door for 8-10 hours. The poor mite became frantic, and hoarse with barking. Classic separation anxiety.

She did not believe us- said her dog never barked in the old flat. ( probably no-one complained!). She tried these dog collars but no help.

She was the owner of the flat, but after numerous complaints, and letters from the Board, she was given an ultimatum. Either remove the dog, or  she had to move. Very tough decision, but it was heart-breaking listening to the dog.- until 4-5 am.!

She moved and found tenants for the flat. 

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Nobody should leave a dog alone for 12 hours😟

Heart-breaking though it may be for a dog lover- that is not on.

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4 hours ago, venomman said:

If anyone is the nuisance in this case, it is the particular dog-haters, not the dog.

As I said, I work from home constantly. The dog was never in the 9 months of staying with us left alone besides 2 occasions when he may or may not have barked, according to only one tenant who admittedly hates dogs, and has a motivation to get rid of it. None of the other tenants ever had any issues with the dog, they are all happy to play with him, and happy to have him around.

The dog barks. All dogs do. It is never more than a single bark before we shush it. If we call this a nuisance, then we should absolutely ban child birth!

Thankfully children and dogs are viewed differently in the eyes of the law.

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Why don't you leave a video recording your dog's behaviour while you're away.

Then you either know your dog is barking, or you have proof the dog is not misbehaving.

 

In fairness small dogs can be very yappy.

And much as I love dogs, a dog barking continually is really annoying.

People who are used to noise often don't grasp just how horrible noise can be to the noise sensitive.

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4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

well, the Mehrheitsbeschluss can prohibit dogs (or cats) specifically - but this can be faught in court and will most likely decided in your favor:

https://www.haufe.de/recht/deutsches-anwalt-office-premium/tierhaltung-weg_idesk_PI17574_HI637225.html

 

 

This differs a lot between different Bundesländer and it's a different situation if the Teilungerklärung/Hausgemeinschaftsordnung specifically stipulate that you need majority content.

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