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Can Landlords Be Held Legally Responsible For Injuries Caused By Their Tenants' Dogs?

December 23, 2013 | Category: Animal Attacks | Share

Floridians may or may not know that Florida has a strict liability law in place to cover individuals who are attacked or bitten by dogs. According to Fort Myers personal injury lawyer Randall Spivey, strict liability means that the injured party will not be required to demonstrate that the dog's owner was careless or negligent in any way when his or her pet bit the individual. Instead, the owner will be held responsible for the dog's attack automatically.

But what happens when the dog or animal owner lives in an apartment complex? Can the landlord of that complex actually be held responsible under the law for injuries caused by his or her tenant's pet? When it comes to residential leases, it is not uncommon for such leases to contain clauses that contain some type of pet restriction. Some leases will exclude pets totally from the premises, while other leases might limit the number or size of pets that a tenant can have in the apartment. Whatever the situation is, injured individuals should know their rights against both the owners of pets and their landlords.

Landlord Liability

Just about any Fort Myers personal injury lawyer will tell you that, while it is a rare occurrence for a landlord to be held legally responsible for injuries caused by a tenant's dog or other pet, there are certain instances in which the landlord can be held liable. One instance in which a landlord can be held responsible for injuries inflicted by a tenant's dog is if the landlord was aware or had reason to be aware of the fact that the tenant's dog was unreasonably dangerous.

Another instance that will subject the landlord to legal liability is if he or she actually kept the dog or maintained control over the dog for a tenant. In either instance, injured individuals should know that they have rights against the landlord and a skilled personal injury lawyer can help them obtain the just compensation to which they are entitled.

Generally, landlords have an obligation to protect their tenants and invitees from harms or injuries that can be caused by vicious dogs of which the landlord is aware; however, cases against landlords for dog bites are a bit more difficult because juries typically find the owners of vicious dogs legally liable, as opposed to the landlord.

Landlord Liability for Dog Bites That Occur While Off the Landlord's Premises

Some individuals may not realize that even if a tenant's dog bites another individual while off the landlord's premises, that landlord can still be held legally responsible for the bite injuries incurred, depending on the specifics of the case. Such cases will be difficult to prove, but if it can be demonstrated that the landlord had knowledge of the dog's aggression and he or she failed to act accordingly, the landlord could be subject to liability.

If you have sustained a dog bite or other type of injury from a tenant's dog or other pet, and you have questions about the potential liability of the landlord, contact a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer at The Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, PA as soon as possible. Let us help you fight for your rights.

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