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I have a rental property, if I rent to a tenant who has a dog, and that dog bites someone, am I liable for anything?

Pleasantville, NY |

In NY state do you need additional insurance if you own an American Sstafforshire Terrier?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Generally not. Unless tenant is your agent or you know that the dog has a viscious propensity, you are generally not responsible.


  2. Don't be surprised if you are sued if the dog bites someone on your property, but as Mr. Rothenburg said, you will not be liable for damages unless you know the dog has a history of being dangerous.

    Rory Alarcon, Esq., is a New York attorney practicing the areas of Family Law, Matrimonial Law, Foreclosure Defense, Consumer Defense and other areas of general practice primarily in Suffolk & Nassau County. His office, Alarcon Law Firm, practices only in New York State and offers the best attorney rates in the Long Island area. His office may be reached at (631) 867-2348.


  3. The law is evolving in many states on this issue and more and more holding the landlord in. If you knew or should have known the dog had dangerous propensities you can probably be liable in NY.


  4. Why not include a defend and indemnify provision in your lease agreement with respect to dog specifically? Either have tenant defend and indemnify you or have them purchase liability insurance in connection with the dog and list you as a named insured.

    IMPORTANT: Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during an attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private attorney-client consultation. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, an attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on Avvo.com are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual. For persons located in New Jersey: To the extent that Mr. Murray's profile can be considered an advertisement in New Jersey, which is denied, be advised that NO ASPECT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY. Furthermore, the selection methodology for the SuperLawyers' "Rising Stars" awards is set forth at length at this website: http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.


  5. It is possible. A tenant with a goldfish would be safer.

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