Landlord liability for dog bites may differ from state to state. Many landlords worry that if they rent property to a tenant with a dog, they could be held liable if the dog bites or injures someone. However, landlord liability for dog bite injury is not common. There are only a handful of very specific circumstances that may cause a landlord to be held liable for dog bite injuries. Furthermore, insurance may cover liability expenses.

Keeping a Tenant’s Dog

If the court proves that the landlord “harbored” or “kept” a tenant’s dog, then the landlord can be held liable for dog bite injuries. Harboring or keeping a dog means that an individual acted in a manner where he or she was in charge of the dog. For example, if a landlord watches his tenant’s dog for two weeks while the tenant is away, the landlord is harboring the dog. In this manner, landlord liability for dog bite injury is likely to be upheld in a court of law.

Knowledge of Canine Aggression

Awareness of canine aggression makes it the landlord’s responsibility to take action for the safety of the neighborhood. If a landlord is aware that a dog threatened or bit a person in the past, landlord liability for dog bite injuries is more likely. To avoid landlord liability for dog bite injuries, the landlord can take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of visitors and other tenants.

Some actions a landlord may take if canine aggression becomes apparent include:

  • Calling animal control.
  • Placing signs to warn other tenants of canine aggression.
  • Requesting the removal of the aggressive dog from the premises within 24 to 48 hours. This depends on the parameters of the tenant’s lease. Attempts at relocating the pet should be taken to avoid landlord liability for dog bite.
  • Tenant eviction is the most severe response to canine aggression. This is typically the choice a landlord makes when a tenant’s dog actually bites someone, as opposed to simply displaying aggressive canine behavior.

Power to Remove a Tenant’s Dog

Depending on the parameters of a lease, a landlord may or may not be able to take certain actions to avoid landlord liability for dog bite injury. As long as a landlord can prove everything in his or her power was done to offer a safe home for other tenants, the landlord isn’t likely to be held liable for a dog bite injury.

 

Dog Bites while Off Premises

If a tenant’s dog bites someone while off of the landlord’s property, the landlord may actually be held liable for dog bite injury in some cases. However, cases of landlord liability for dog bite injury occurring off premises are extremely rare. The only way for a landlord to be held liable in this scenario is for the court to prove the landlord had knowledge of canine aggression and failed to act accordingly.

Many landlords worry about liability issues if they rent to a tenant that owns a dog. However, landlord liability for dog bite injuries is uncommon. Only a special set of circumstances may cause a landlord to be found liable. These circumstances can vary between states. As a tenant or a landlord, it is important to know your state's dog bite laws.
Landlord liability for dog bites may differ from state to state. Many landlords worry that if they rent property to a tenant with a dog, they could be held liable if the dog bites or injures someone. However, landlord liability for dog bite injury is not common. There are only a handful of very specific circumstances that may cause a landlord to be held liable for dog bite injuries. Furthermore, insurance may cover liability expenses.

Keeping a Tenant’s Dog


If the court proves that the landlord “harbored” or “kept” a tenant’s dog, then the landlord can be held liable for dog bite injuries. Harboring or keeping a dog means that an individual acted in a manner where he or she was in charge of the dog. For example, if a landlord watches his tenant’s dog for two weeks while the tenant is away, the landlord is harboring the dog. In this manner, landlord liability for dog bite injury is likely to be upheld in a court of law.

Knowledge of Canine Aggression


Awareness of canine aggression makes it the landlord’s responsibility to take action for the safety of the neighborhood. If a landlord is aware that a dog threatened or bit a person in the past, landlord liability for dog bite injuries is more likely. To avoid landlord liability for dog bite injuries, the landlord can take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of visitors and other tenants.

Some actions a landlord may take if canine aggression becomes apparent include:

  • Calling animal control.

  • Placing signs to warn other tenants of canine aggression.

  • Requesting the removal of the aggressive dog from the premises within 24 to 48 hours. This depends on the parameters of the tenant’s lease. Attempts at relocating the pet should be taken to avoid landlord liability for dog bite.

  • Tenant eviction is the most severe response to canine aggression. This is typically the choice a landlord makes when a tenant’s dog actually bites someone, as opposed to simply displaying aggressive canine behavior.




 

Power to Remove a Tenant’s Dog


Depending on the parameters of a lease, a landlord may or may not be able to take certain actions to avoid landlord liability for dog bite injury. As long as a landlord can prove everything in his or her power was done to offer a safe home for other tenants, the landlord isn’t likely to be held liable for a dog bite injury.


Dog Bites while Off Premises


If a tenant’s dog bites someone while off of the landlord’s property, the landlord may actually be held liable for dog bite injury in some cases. However, cases of landlord liability for dog bite injury occurring off premises are extremely rare. The only way for a landlord to be held liable in this scenario is for the court to prove the landlord had knowledge of canine aggression and failed to act accordingly.

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