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Is a landlord liable if tenant's dog bites someone?

Jupiter, FL |

My future tenant has dogs (not vicious breeds) and I want to know if I have can be held liable for their actions.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. A landlord may be liable for a tenant's animal if the landlord knew about the animal's propensity for aggression or violence and allowed it to remain in the premises. Otherwise, if the animal is not known to have an aggressive nature or history, it would not likely be deemed negligent for the landlord to allow the animal to occupy the premises.


  2. I agree with my fellow attorney's answer. Knowledge is key but It can come down to whether the LL knew or should have known. The best way to protect yourself is to see if the renter can't get insurance and have the LL as an additional insured


  3. Usually the dog owner or person in control of the dog is liable for the damage a dog does. A landlord with knowledge of a dog's prior dangerous propensities that takes no action may be held,in part responsible for an injury.


  4. You are the Landlord I assume. If you dont have any knowledge of viciousness or prior incidents, you generally would not be held liable. With that said, creative lawyers could try to sue you if you controlled the fencing of the home and the fencing was alleged to be insufficient or somehow the lawyer alleges that you as a homeowner did something wrong.

    Also, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, that may cover any alleged damages or injuries.

    You could ask the renter to get renters insurance covering such incidents if you are fearful and the future tenant agrees.

    Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.


  5. Under limited circumstance can be held liable - knowledge of prior aggressive behavior etc

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  6. Under certain factual situations, you, as a landlord, may have liability exposure to 3rd persons. Make sure that you have adequate commercial insurance governing your rental property. Should there be a claim against you, you simply turn It over to your carrier and they have an obligation to investigate, defend you and indemnify you if necessary.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  7. In short, YES

    Courts will look to your prior knowledge and any other related evidence, like the lease, policies of insurance, prior acts, statements, etc.

    Good luck

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