Dog Bites in New York Pt. 3: Can I Sue a Landlord when Tenant’s Dog Bites

If you have been bitten by a dog owned by a tenant in a building, you might also be able to sue the landlord for your injuries.  The answer is maybe.  In order to hold a landlord liable for a bite sustained from a tenant’s dog, you must establish all of the elements against the dog owner plus, you must establish that the landlord was actually aware of the dog’s presence and that he had knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities.

What’s more, is that it must be established that the landlord had this knowledge when the lease was signed.

And, there is also the possibility that you could sue a landlord for his tenant’s dog’s bite, even if the bite and injury did not occur on the property owned by the landlord.

If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible so that an immediate investigation can be undertaken to determine whether you have a claim and who is potentially responsible.

If however, you are a landlord, you should definitely consider not permitting dogs on the premises and, if you are going to do so, you should take proactive steps to protect yourself from liability.  In that regard, I would suggest the following.  Have the name, breed and description of the dog as well as its demeanor and your impressions placed directly in the lease itself.  This may assist you in ensuring that the evidence of your present sense impression at the time you lease the premises is admitted in court.  Second, you might want to require that the tenant have renter’s insurance and, if you already require it, consider requiring a higher value policy.  You should demand that you receive a copy of the binder and paid receipt and that it be a condition of the lease to maintain a policy and provide you annual proof with its continued existence.