Landlord Liability for Tenants’ Dogs in New York

Landlord liability may apply in cases in which a tenant’s dog has caused injury or death to someone else. You would need to consult an attorney for a better understanding of your rights.

Dog bites can lead to significant physical and emotional harm, including scarring and disfigurement. As a result, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

New York State Dog Laws

When considering landlord liability, it’s important to understand the laws surrounding dog bites. Some states have adopted the one-bite rule.

Once a dog bites someone, it is now considered dangerous under the statute. So if the dog bites a second time, the owner will be liable. The only other way a dog owner could be responsible under the one-bite rule is if he or she had knowledge of the likelihood the dog would bite and cause injury.

Some states have adopted strict liability rules. In these cases, it doesn’t matter whether the dog bit before or if the owner had no way of knowing it could happen; he or she would be liable for injuries.

New York state dog laws have adopted a mix of both the one-bite rule and strict liability. Under strict liability, owners are held liable for medical costs only.

In order to receive additional compensation, such as pain and suffering, the one-bite rule would apply. It would need to be proven the owner knew the dog was dangerous and had a tendency to bite.

Landlord Liability When a Tenant’s Dog Bites

What this means to a landlord is that he or she could be named in a premises liability claim if an injured victim is unable to recover damages from the dog’s owner. Sometimes victims are able to make a claim against the tenant’s renters insurance or if the owner had dog liability insurance.

But when these options aren’t available, there is the possibility of holding the landlord responsible. Because statutes don’t exist that put automatic liability on a landlord, you would need to prove negligence.

An example where landlord liability might apply is when he or she has full knowledge that a dog was dangerous. So if instead of taking steps to have the dog removed or ensuring it was contained to prevent injury, and nothing was done, this could be considered negligence.

Another example of landlord liability would be when a landlord has knowledge of a tenant keeping a dog whose breed is banned by that city, county or state. For example, in New York City housing projects, pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are all banned as of May 1, 2009.

Landlords could be responsi,ble if the tenant’s dog was kept penned inside a gate or fence and it escaped because of a failure to repair the structure. If it can be shown the dog escaping and biting someone would have been prevented had the repair been made. This also may put some or all of the blame on the owner.

It’s important for landlords and tenants to understand New York state dog laws, so that others are protected from potentially dangerous dogs or those that have already been categorized as dangerous.

Seeking Help from a New York Personal Injury Attorney

Dog bites are not uncommon in the state of New York. According to the New York State Department of Health, every year, about 6,600 individuals under the age of 20 require treatment in a hospital because of bite injuries.

To learn about available legal options, contact a personal injury attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. We will review the details of your case to determine if landlord liability applies.

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