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Landlord Liability for Tenants' Keeping of Animals by Rebecca F. Wisch (2003)
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Overview of Landlord Liability for Injury by Tenants' Animals, by Rebecca F. Wisch


Detailed Discussion of Landowner and Landlord Liability for Injuries by Tenants' Animals, by David S. Favre

New Cases for 2004:

Yuzon v. Collins, 116 Cal.App. 4th 149 (2004) (dog bite victim sued a landlord, alleging premises liability in landlord's failure to guard or warn against tenants' dangerous dog.  Court of Appeal held that the landlord owed no duty of care, as he had no actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities and an expert witness's declaration that the landlord should have known of the dog's vicious propensities was insufficient to warrant reconsideration of summary judgment ruling.) 

Ranwez v. Roberts, 2004 WL 1405703 (Ga.App.) (after sustaining severe injuries inflicted during a vicious attack by four pit bulls, plaintiff sued tenant neighbor and the owner of the rental property.  The crucial question in this case was whether an out-of-possession landlord has liability for a tenant's dog bite.  The appellate court held that an out-of-possession landlord's tort liability to third persons is subject only to the statutory provisions of OCGA § 44-7-14, which makes it clear that a landlord who relinquishes possession of the premises cannot be liable to third parties for damages arising from the negligence of the tenant.  Further, reserving a right of access for landlord-related purposes did not mean that the landlord did not fully part with the leased premises.) 

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church, The plaintiff, Virginia Auster, brought this action pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357FN1 to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the dog of an employee of the defendant, Norwalk United Methodist Church.  Ms. Auster was a visitor who was on the premises to attend a meeting in the parish house when she was bitten by dog of church employee, who lived in an apartment in the parish house.  After a jury trial, the verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.  (See summary judgment appeal, 2004 WL 423189).  The Appellate Court held that church was not a “keeper” of the church employee's dog for purposes of statute which imposed strict liability on the keeper of any dog that did damage to the body or property of any person.  The court reversed the judgment and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of common-law negligence.

Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, L.L.C., 2004 WL 1416659, 2004 WL 1416659 (N.C.) (whether a landlord can be held liable for negligence when his tenant's dogs injure a third party where a landlord has agreed by contract to remove "undesireable" dogs.  The court found Colonial failed to use ordinary care by failing to require the defendant Olson to restrain his Rottweiler dogs, or remove them from the premises when the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, from the dogs' past conduct, that they were likely, if not restrained, to do an act from which a reasonable person could foresee.  Of particular importance to the court, was the lease provision, which the court felt contractually obligated the landlord to retain control over defendant's dogs.)

Klitzka ex rel. Teutonico v. Hellios, 2004 WL 1109781, 810 N.E.2d 252, 284 Ill.Dec. 599, (Illinois Appellate Court considered, as a matter of first impression, under what circumstances does a landlord owe a duty of care to his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from an attack by an animal kept by the tenant on the leased premises?  A minor invitee (Alexus) of the tenants was bitten by tenants' dog and brought a negligence action against residential landlords.  The Appellate Court held that even if landlords knew tenants' dog was dangerous, the landlords had no duty to protect the tenants' invitee because landlords retained no control over the leased premises where injury occurred.  "Here, the tenants' affirmative conduct of bringing the dog into the living space of the home, an area over which the landlords had no control, is what might have been the proximate cause of Alexus' injuries.")


Table of Landlord Tenant Related Statutes

Table of Landlord Tenant Related Cases

Related Links

Dog Bite Topic Area (Web Center)

Local and State Dog Laws Topic Area (Web Center)

Pet Damages Topic Area (Web Center)

Detailed Discussion on Breed Specific Legislation by Linda Weiss (Web Center)


Teaching book

Animals, Welfare, Interests and Rights by Prof. David Favre