Is a landlord liable if their tenant’s dog bites someone?

UPDATED: Dec 31, 2011

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Is a landlord liable if their tenant’s dog bites someone?

My tenant had a pitbull and it bit our neighbor while he was walking the dog. They filed a claim against my wife and I. The neighbor has already filed a claim against our homeowners insurance which was cancelled as a result.

Asked on December 31, 2011 under Personal Injury, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Ordinarily the landlord of a unit is not liable if his or her tennat has a dog and the dog bites a third party. Rather, liability would rest upon the tenant in that most states have statutes holding that the owner of a dog who bites someone is strictly liable for all damages resulting from the bite.

In your situation, the only way I could foresee any liability as to you as the landlord is if you knew that the tenants' dog had dangerous tendencies from complaints of others, you did nothing as to having the tenants get rid of the dog and the dog bit someone on your own property. This does not seem to be the case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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