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Are Landlords Responsible For Dog Bites?

If you own a dog-friendly rental property, you may be wondering if the landlord is liable when a tenant’s dog bites someone. Most of the time the owner is responsible for any liability in the case of a dog bite. However, in Florida, there are some cases where a landlord can be held legally responsible if a tenant’s dog bites someone. So when it comes to dog-friendly rental properties, it is important to understand a landlord’s liability in the case of a serious dog bite.

When A Landlord Is Not Liable For A Dog Bite

When a dog bite happens on your property it is important to understand when you are not liable for the incident. There are several instances where you may not be liable for a dog bite. The first is if you had no knowledge of the dog living on your property. If the dog was on your property without your knowledge or against the rules, you could not have known of the threat the dog posed. The second is if the dog does not meet the rules of the residency. For example, many landlords have rules about the size and the breed of the dogs allowed. So if the dog does not fit these requirements, the tenant has broken the rules of residency so you will not be liable. Also, if the dog has bitten a trespasser or someone who illegally entered your property, you may not be liable for the dog bite. Finally, if the dog has shown violent tendencies before and you have tried to take action to remove the dog from the property like with a letter of warning or notice of eviction, if a dog attacks on your property you will not be liable.

When A Landlord Is Liable For A Dog Bite

Unfortunately though, in some cases, you may be liable for a tenant’s dog’s bite. Landlords are legally required to provide safe facilities to their tenants and people on legally on their property. If you fail to do this you will be liable for a dog bite. Here are some cases where you will have liability for a dog bite.

  • You knew of the dog’s presence and their aggressive tendencies and have done nothing to remove the threat.

  • If the dog has committed an aggressive act before and you failed to remove the dog from the property.

  • The dog on your property is an illegal breed. For example, in Miami-Dade county owning a pit bull is illegal.

  • You have failed to properly maintain the dog-proofing infrastructure on the property. For example, if the fence or gate that confines a dog is broken and you fail to fix it and the dog gets out and bites someone, you will be liable.

  • You failed to enforce the property rules about dog ownership. If you have weight requirements but allowed a large dog to stay, you may be responsible if that dog attacks.

  • You failed to adequately warn visitors of the presence of the dog.

In these cases, you assume premises liability because knew of the danger but did nothing to reduce the risk.

So if you are a property owner or a landlord, and a dog bite happens on your property, you may be liable in the state of Florida. So it is crucial that you talk to an personal injury attorney, like the experts at All Injuries Law Firm, immediately if a dog bite happens on your property even if you think you may not be liable. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you determine whether or not you are liable and protect you from any unfair claims against you. So contact us for a free consultation today to make sure you are protected!