Portland, OR asked in Landlord - Tenant, Small Claims and Municipal Law for Oregon

Q: Should I have sue my landlord or my neighbor?

I live in an apartment complex. I am looking to file a claim at the Small Claims Court against my landlord/property manager for failing to stop my neighbor's dog from barking after more than 4 months. The dog barks almost daily and over 90% of the time it barks from over 10 minutes to as long as 90 minutes at a time. I can hear the barking in my kitchen even with my apartment door and all my windows tightly shut. I have several video/audio recordings of the barking. The staff at the property has also confirmed in writing a few times that he too heard the barking after I reported it. For 3rd party confirmation, I was instructed by the property manager to call the security firm the property uses if the dog barks after business hours, so far, the security firm has confirmed they heard the dog barking on the phone when I called them at least 3 times so far. But my property manager's boss emailed me this warning today (Feb 2), "You may proceed with whatever action you feel necessary.

1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory L Abbott
Gregory L Abbott
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: You don't say but I am guessing that your neighbor is also a tenant of the same landlord? If so, if you have set it up properly, you can sue the landlord for breaching their duty to provide you with quiet enjoyment of your tenancy. You can also, and should, report the noise problem to Multnomah County Animal Control (assuming you are in Multnomah County). They will investigate and presumably issue an infraction notice to the neighbor. That can cost the neighbor a fine as well as create a permanent record of the dog's misbehavior for the future. A guilty finding by them also could be useful evidence for you in a suit against the landlord. It would support, if not prove, the continuing noise problem and establish that the dog not only subjectively bothered you but also violated County Code requirements. That would not give the landlord much room to avoid liability.

Katherine Goodman agrees with this answer

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