I am looking to share my recent experience of a nightmare rental situation with the neighbours from hell and seeking any advice from others. I moved into an apartment 6 months ago, unaware that next door had 8 dogs and 2 cats. At the time of viewing, there was no signs of trouble/disturbance and the agent apparently had 'no knowledge' of this. The building also doesn't allow the keeping of animals but like most places will turn a blind eye if the pets do not cause any nuisance. Within a week we started noticing the problems that would soon escalate to an extent i never expected. The barking was ridiculous but the disgusting smell that would emanate from the flat was unbearable that no amount of air fresheners could mask it. (the whole public area was revolting with the smell of dog shit and would follow into the lift and sometimes seep into our flat).
We soon realised that the neighbours (a local HK couple) owned a restaurant working late night shifts and did not come home every day but when they did, it would be at unsociable hours like 3am...on arrival the dogs would go crazy ensuring we couldn't sleep. The units in our building are fairly small so one can't imagine the health or hygiene of these animals cramped inside (to make matters worse, we realised all windows were boarded up which aroused even more suspicion) seeing that they weren't being fed regularly or walked at all. Naturally our instincts were to lodge complaints to building management, which is when the shocking history of this drama unfolded.
We were informed the couple owned the flat and had been living there over 10 years. At least two previous sets of tenants vacated our flat after experiencing the same problems with no solution. The woman had some serious anger management issues and generally seemed mentally unstable with regular throwing around of objects and shouting expletives at the pets to keep quiet. (it really seemed confusing how someone could keep so many pets but treat them so badly) Building management openly admitted the situation had gotten out of hand and they were unable to control the whole case, especially mediating with the couple, who were unreasonable and generally unpleasant and confrontational characters.
We soon also found out that our landlord was less than willing to help or get involved in the situation, with the constant excuse that it wasn't her fault and refusing to let us leave or reduce any rent. Her only condition was that we needed to find a replacement if we left, a situation that we wouldn't wish on any other tenants but would also be impossible. Eventually even the agent agreed that they would not want to assist as they found it unethical to allow someone else to sign up to this. As the couple were never home during the day, we were told any calls to the police would prove useless because they are also unable to take any action. Or if they were home, as long as they didn't answer the door nothing could be done. We tried calling the SPCA and the agricultural/fisheries department, and were told time after time that they would not assist because there was no physical proof.
As you can imagine, the situation was severely frustrating. Speaking to friends and colleagues, no one could believe how this couple was actually allowed to get away with this but they were. It seems in HK, they could do whatever they pleased without much governing. Their door entrance would regularly be strewn with shoes, pet food deliveries, bags and rubbish, (at one point even their mattress!) blocking the fire exit. Again building management were happy to let this carry on as they were generally too scared to tell the couple anything. It was actually a joke, as they continued to post signs about their rules and fines but never bothered to lift a finger to help abiding tenants. Even the cleaning staff were sick of tending to our floor and had on occasions refused to maintain the bins due to the smell.
Between management and the landlord, we were told to lodge our complaints to building security to keep a record but the situation just worsened. Any complaints to the landlord to visit and see firsthand our would be disregarded, at one point with her telling me 'i complained too much'. Eventually after 4 months into our lease and constant harassment from us, they finally said they would be 'taking legal action' against the couple. This turned out to be total lies as now 6 months in, the dogs are still there and the smell/noise hasn't lessened. Legal letters had apparently been sent but the couple seemed to care less and less, after years of getting away of it nothing phased them, especially empty threats. They were supposedly moving out and needed time but nowadays they rarely come home but the pets are still evidently there...
In my 7 plus years of living in HK, i have never heard or anything as bad as this but it seems tenants really have it the worst. If anyone has any similar experiences or any valuable advice, it would be much appreciated as it seems we have exhausted all options and I am generally a little confused what our rights are here. I am not sure if any naming or shaming is allowed or encouraged...