According to Nolo many landlords are reluctant to allow pets to live in their rentals because of the potential liability that they may face if the animal bites or attack someone. However, it is actually very rare for landlords to be held liable when a tenant’s dog or other pet bites or attack someone.
There are generally only two circumstances where a landlord can be found liable if a tenant’s pet attacks or bites someone. If the landlord knew that the dog was dangerous and could have had it removed the landlord can be held liable if the pet injures someone.In addition, if the landlord took care of, or had some control of the tenant’s dog the landlord can be found liable if the tenant attacks someone.
For the landlord to be considered to have actual knowledge that the pet was dangerous he must have known the pet already threatened or injured someone. Furthermore, the landlord cannot be held responsible if they do not have the legal power to remove the animal. For instance, if the landlord bought a building and a tenant already had a dangerous dog that was protected within their current lease then the landlord does not have legal power to remove the pet and therefore cannot be held liable if it attacks someone.
In some states a landlord might not beheld responsible even if he knew the pet was dangerous. It is also important to note that in some cases a landlord can be held responsible even if an injury from the pet occurs off their property.
Even though you may not be held responsible if a tenant’s pet bites someone, you should still weigh the options of allowing pets into your rentals. While not allowing pets into your rental building may shut your rental off to a group of potential tenants, keeping certain pets out of your rental can prevent damage to your property which will save you money on repair costs.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.