Basically I have to give someone I live with notice I will start legal action against them.

A roommate's dog will not stop barking. I told her it affects my ability to work and sleep and she said she does not intend to do anything about it. The roommate is also the landlord, so things are about to get hairy.

Basically I need to give her one final warning on official document with a deadline to fix the problem. I plan on taping it to her door, though it could be served to her in person.

I really just want this problem to go away, and hope this final warning will be enough for her to take action.

Given that I live with her, how can I do this in a way to minimize hard feelings? Perhaps I can do it when I plan on not having to see her for as long as possible? I do plan on moving but in the mean time this isn't fair that I pay a lot of money and get woken up at night and my work is disrupted.

  • 2
    How much longer will you be there until you move? How often do you interact with your roommate/landlord? Do you ask each other how your day was every day or do you only talk when there’s something that needs to be done for the apartment (or something in between)?
    – scohe001
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 5:27
  • @scohe001 we see each other each day but we're not really friendly with each other, never say more than 'hi' (and part of the reason I might add is because I don't like trying to talk over the dogs barking). I will move out as soon as I find suitable accommodations which may take a month or two.
    – refbobby
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 7:33
  • 2
    What is the jurisdiction? In some parts of the world you have the right do keep (part of) the rent until problems are fixed.
    – user6109
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 7:39
  • @Raditz_35 this is an interpersonal question as I have to (at minimum) see this person I'm going to be starting legal action against each day, and I'd rather not get in an argument or shouting match each time I cross paths. No, a lawyer would not advise how to accomplish that.
    – refbobby
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 9:18
  • 1
    @Daniel oh interesting. I assure you I have investigated the laws in my area and am not looking for legal advice. Thanks though!
    – refbobby
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 9:20

3 Answers 3


In the situation you describe, you can't.

You want your landlord to do A (stop the dog from barking), and she refuses to do A. You have options-- if you don't like where you are living, you can leave (even if that involves breaking a lease). But instead of that you have decided to stay where you are and also unilaterally lower your own rent (that's the effective result of suing her for compensation).

And so you are using the threat of legal action to compel her to do what you want, which she has already expressed she does not want to do. You are threatening her (even if the thing you want is totally reasonable, and your landlord is being totally unreasonable).

Assuming that your legal analysis is correct you will get what you want either way (lower rent or a quiet home) and she will definitely get something that she doesn't want (lower rent payments or having to deal with her dog). You're not negotiating these things with her, you're telling her how it's going to be and forcing her to comply. That sounds like a recipe for hard feelings.

So, in summary, I don't see how you can minimize the impression of a threat when the threat is exactly what you want to express in the first place (that's the prompt to get her to act). I also don't see how you can do much about hard feelings when you have decided to force her to do something she doesn't want to do (quiet the dog or accept the rent you unilaterally feel your rental is worth).

You're the one in this situation, not me, so it's your call and you do what you need to do. But I think that the "minimum" level of hard feelings you can hope to achieve here is still going to be pretty high.


Be sincere but remorseful. Hand it in person. Say something like "I know this isn't favorable but I really, really need your dog to stop barking. I'd hate to be a butt but I need you to do something about it, and I'm this serious about it (hence the legal notice)." Really emphasize that it's between her dog barking and you being functional at your job, and frankly you chose being functional at your job to be more important.

Some other things you could do:
-I would suggest making the suggesting of getting anti-bark devices like the high-frequency sound emitters or shock collar and even paying for it
-You could get a high-frequency emitter as she may not hear it though the walls but the dog would (I think they're like $10)
-Before you serve the letter, you could try to appeal to her one last time, try to convince her that a dog constantly barking is unacceptable for both a tenant and a landlord -If she does not budge, I would strongly suggest looking for other places and maybe negotiating severing your lease without penalty

What is the legal action calling for? What is the consequence?


From what you've said, it sounds like your roomie is one of these super dog lovers... that regards their dog to be their child. My sister falls into that category, and there comes a point when you simply can't reason with them, when it comes to issues regarding the dog's distinctly un-human behavior... like barking all night. They don't mind it, and expect you to not mind it.

Legally, I suppose you're within your rights, but that does not prevent her from becoming quite hostile after you've threatened her 'child'. If there's one thing worse than living with a dog barking all night, it's living with someone who has a grudge against you.

I would suggest that you just move on now. If your roomie is anything like my sister, the legal action will just make things worse.


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