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When can you sue a landlord for a dog bite injury?

If you've ever gone to rent a place to live and were told that pets were not allowed on the premises, then one reason you might have been told that is because the landlord was fearful that your dog would bite someone.

While generally the dog owner him or herself will be held liable for any injuries someone else suffers at his or her pet's hands, there are certain instances in which the landlord can be held liable instead.

One of the more common instances in which a landlord can be held liable for his or her tenant's pet's behavior is if it can be proven that he or she has already been made aware of how dangerous it is. A landlord may be held liable in this case because there's an expectation that the moment he or she becomes aware that a dog has an aggressive streak, that he or she will take appropriate measures to remove it from the premises.

A landlord can also be held liable for a tenant's dog biting someone if he or she has taken on some type of ownership role over the pet. In this case, if the landlord feeds, takes the dog for a walk or otherwise cares for the pet in the owner's absence, then he or she may be partially liable for its actions. As such, he or she may be held financially responsible if it bites someone.

There are, however, some instances in which a landlord would not be seen as liable for a dog attack. One instance in which this may occur is if you live in a jurisdiction where a landlord is not entitled to remove dogs from a tenant's premises . Another instance is if a judge previously entered in a ruling not allowing the animal's removal from the residence you rent.

It's a landlord's responsibility to do his or her own due diligence and conduct background checks on the owner and pet both to ensure they haven't been involved in a vicious attack. Additionally, it's the landlord's responsibility to take out necessary liability coverage to protect his or her own personal interests if he or she is sued for an attack as well.

If you've been bitten by a neighbor's dog and you're looking to sue its owner or his or her landlord for your medical costs and other expenses, then a Detroit personal injury lawyer can advise you of the merits of your claim.

Source: The Balance, "3 Times a Landlord Could Be Liable for a Tenant's Dog Bite," Erin Eberlin, accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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