Most dogs are friendly most of the time, both to people and other animals. But a pleasant interaction can go wrong in a second and lead to a serious bite.
That’s why landlords fear when a tenant’s pet gets out of control. Though the responsibility typically falls on the owner, there are instances where the landlord could be held at least partly responsible.
To help you understand the consequences of these situations, our dog bite lawyers in Mississauga have prepared this blog. Keep reading and educate yourself to be better prepared to deal with dog bites that happen on your property.
Are Landlords Liable for a Tenant’s Dog Biting Someone?
Find out how to deal with a dog bite incident when you own the property but not the dog.
If you have a tenant with one or more dogs, there are scenarios in which you might be liable if the animal bites someone.
1. You Know the Dog Is Dangerous
If you are aware that your tenant’s dog(s) could be a danger to you or others, you may be held responsible if they do attack someone. (Example: you’re aware that the dog attacked or bit someone in the past and you allowed the owner to keep them on the property. This will result in you being partially at fault for injuries that the pet causes while on your property in the future.)
2. You Could Remove the Pet but Don’t
If you know the dog has displayed violent behaviour but don’t ask the tenant to remove them from the premises, you may be held liable if they attack someone. For instance, you can ask your tenant to sign an agreement that says they must re-home the dog if they display violent behaviour. In this case, you will have written proof that if the dog bites someone, then the tenant cannot keep them on the property. However, if the dog does bite someone and you fail to follow through, you may be held responsible for the harm sustained by the victim. In such instances, though you aren’t the owner, your negligence increases the risk of the dog harming someone.
3. You Sheltered the Canine
If you (the landlord) cares for the dog (feeds them, watches them while the owner’s away, walks them), you inherit the same accountability as the owner. So if the dog attacks someone, the courts may hold you responsible to some degree.
How can a landlord protect themselves in dog bite cases?
- Follow the Law
The best course of action to take in case a tenant’s dog attacks someone is to abide by the conditions of their lease and the law. This means you must remove the aggressive canine from your premises and alert other tenants of the danger to prevent others from facing the same fate.
- Screen Your Tenants
Thoroughly screen your tenants and their pets before agreeing to let them move in. Meet the pet beforehand and ask that the owner present a record of the dog’s vaccinations.
- Get Insured
Choose the right insurance to protect you from being found responsible in a dog bite case. The policy should preferably also offer coverage for injuries caused by the animals.
- Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
If someone has sustained injuries because of a dog on your property, hire a dog bite lawyer. They can help you through each step of the process and do their utmost to make sure the owners are held accountable for their pet, not you.
Here are some other reasons why you should hire a dog bite lawyer.
- Extensive Knowledge
Every province has different laws regarding dog bite claims. If someone on your property has sustained injuries from a dog bite, the right lawyer can help you initiate a claim against the owner. Also, since dog bite lawyers handle these types of cases regularly, they may have seen a case similar to yours and can use case studies to help you.
- Access to Resources
Dog bite lawyers often have access to numerous valuable resources which can contribute to the case. They have members in their legal team who conduct research and investigate the case while gathering evidence that determines whether or not the dog owner was negligent.
Filing a dog bite claim yourself can be overwhelming. However, dog bite lawyers handle such cases regularly and are best prepared to deal with yours so you can enjoy peace of mind.
Being attacked by a dog can be horrific. In case a canine bites someone on your property, stay calm, treat the victim, and ask the owner to confine the dog. Next, get in touch with a reputable dog bite lawyer to reduce your liability risks. By following these tips, you can strengthen your case and handle the situation properly.