Are Landlords Liable for Injuries Caused by Their Tenants’ Dogs?

Many landlords have concerns about their own liability for injuries that are caused by a tenant’s dog. Some landlords refuse to allow dogs on their property at all because of fear of liability. In most cases, however, this fear is largely misplaced. Generally, a landlord will not be held liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog, unless the landlord was aware that the dog was a threat to safety, and had the ability to remove the dog; or the landlord was harboring the dog (taking care of the dog). if you believe you were injured as a result of a landlords negligent actions then its important to speak to an experienced landlord liability attorney to receive a free consultation to evaluate your case.

Landlord Knew that the Dog Was a Danger

If the landlord knew that the dog was unsafe, and he or she had the legal authority to remove the tenant and/or the dog, but the landlord failed to do so, then the landlord could be held liable if the dog hurts someone. In order to be held responsible, the landlord must have both knowledge of the danger and the ability to remove the dog. In order for the landlord to be deemed to have knowledge of the danger, the landlord must have learned about or witnessed prior incidents of the dog injuring or attempting to injure someone. For example, if the landlord was at the property and was bitten by the tenant’s dog without provocation, then the landlord will be deemed to know that the dog is dangerous. However, if the dog merely barked at the landlord and did not attempt to attack him when he was at the property, then there would be no reason for the landlord to know that the dog was a danger.

Landlord Had the Legal Authority to Remove the Dog, and Failed to Do So

Even where the landlord has knowledge that the dog is a danger, he or she might not necessarily be liable for injuries caused by the dog if the landlord had no way of removing the dog from the property and preventing the injury. For example, if the landlord became aware of the dog’s dangerous potential only after allowing the tenant to enter a one-year lease, then he or she may not be in a position to remove the dog until after the lease period expired. Even if the landlord is unable to evict the tenant under the terms of the lease, he or she could still take other precautions to prevent injury from the dog. For example, the landlord could erect a fence or insist that the tenant keep the dog indoors. If the tenant was in a month-to-month lease, then the landlord could insist that the tenant remove the dog, or leave the property. If the landlord had this legal authority to remove the dog, and declined to exercise it despite knowing that the dog was a danger, then he or she could be held liable for injuries caused by the dog.

Landlord Harbored the Dog

If the landlord shares some responsibility for the dog, by feeding or caring for the dog, then he or she might be deemed a legal owner or keeper of the dog. In this case, the landlord could be held liable for injuries caused by the dog.

Do You Need a New York Landlord Liability Lawyer?

The highly skilled New York landlord liability lawyers of Sonin & Genis have been successfully representing clients in landlord liability cases for over 30 years. Contact the experienced attorneys of Sonin & Genis at (718) 561-4444 right away if you are seeking compensation for injuries you have sustained due to your landlord’s negligence.



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