Can a Landlord Be Liable for a Dog Bite?

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Many landlords forbid tenants from having a dog. That isn’t because they don’t like canines. It is due to the landlord’s fear they may be liable if the dog bites someone. Although this is possible given certain conditions, it is rare for a landlord to be liable for dog bite injuries. If such an incident occurred, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can sort out all the details to determine who is liable for damages.

However, most of the time, a tenant is liable for injuries/damaged resulting from a dog bite. Landlords therefore advise tenants to purchase renter’s insurance; to be of any use, the policy must cover injuries or damage caused by a dog, and not exclude any dog breeds. Depending on the state you live in, the dog owner is strictly liable, but other states pin legal responsibility on the owner only if they knew the dog had vicious tendencies.

When a Landlord Is Liable

A landlord could be held liable for a dog bite injury if:

They Knew the Dog Was a Threat

The dog was a known threat to others or had bitten or attacked someone in the past. If the landlord was aware of this and chose not to remove the animal, knowing it put the safety of tenants and others at risk, they could be fully liable for the damage or face partial blame.

The Landlord Cares for the Dog

You would have the same liability as the owner if you feed, walk, or otherwise care for an animal that bites someone and causes injury. Such is the case if you watch the dog while the owner is away from home or at work.

They Were Able/Unable to Remove the Animal

If a court denied a request to remove the animal, a landlord would probably not be at fault for a future attack. They should alert tenants of the animal’s presence.

If they were able to remove the animal but did not, that’s a different story. A pet agreement could be signed, stating if the dog shows signs of aggression, the tenant must get rid of it or move out with the dog. If the dog bites someone, the landlord could be liable (as a form of negligence) if they signed such a contract and knowingly and willingly allowed the dangerous animal on their property.

How to Protect Yourself

If there’s a dangerous animal on your property, you should do everything you can to get it removed or alert others about it. You can also screen tenants and pets before they move in, and purchase insurance with liability coverage. Lastly, you can depend on the legal services of a Los Angeles dog bite injury attorney at The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani.

The Los Angeles personal injury attorney serves clients everywhere in California and can determine if you are liable or deserve compensation as a victim of a dog bite injury. Contact us today for a free consultation and to discuss your claim.

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