There are some cases where a landlord can be held liable for a dog bite, hence the reason some landlords are hesitant to allow pets on their property. Tenants who own pets are often advised to purchase a renters insurance policy that includes coverage for injuries caused by an animal, since the liability most often lies on them if their animal attacks someone.
There are a few instances, however that the Landlord is held liable.
- If the landlord knew that the dog was dangerous and it posed a real threat to others
- An example in this case would be if the landlord knew that the dog bit someone on the property in the past and chose to let the dog remain on the property creating an unsafe environment for all tenants. Even though the landlord did not own the dog, their negligence contributed to a possible future attack
- If the landlord cared for the dog or looked over it with some amount of control
- Caring for the dog would included anything from taking the dog on walks, letting the dog out while the owner is working, and feeding the dog. In this case the landlord is considered a de facto owner and will hold the same liability as the dog owner
Landlords can protect themselves from liability by following the law and conditions set in the lease, screening tenants and pets from the beginning, and maintaining proper insurance.