Can a landlord be responsible for a dog bite by a tenant’s dog?
Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 at 9:01 am
As property owners, landlords have the duty to keep their properties safe for the tenants, and under some conditions, for people who use the common areas of the property. However, a landlord’s duty is not absolute, which means that there are some circumstances under which a person can get hurt on the property, and the landlord is not held responsible. One such circumstance is when a person suffers serious injuries after being bitten or attacked by a tenant’s dog.
Generally, following Georgia law, a landlord is not responsible for injuries caused to other people by a dog owned by a tenant if the landlord has given possession of the leased home or apartment to the tenant. A landlord’s responsibility to others when it comes to the rented property only extends to situations in which a person is injured as a result of defective construction or the landlord’s failure to make reasonable repairs to the property.
In most cases, a landlord gives the tenant possession when the tenant signs the lease and starts living in the apartment or home. Even when the landlord still has permission to come into the apartment for repairs and other such inspections under the lease, it does not necessarily mean that the landlord has not given up possession of the premises. The level of control a landlord has over the tenant’s premises could affect whether or not the landlord has given up possession.
The tenant is held liable for the injuries caused by the dog because he or she is essentially in control of the dog and has taken the risk of owning it. In some cases, even when the landlord is aware that the dog has bitten other people in the past and fails to take any action to have the dog removed from the premises, he or she may not be held liable for the injuries because the law only places a duty on the landlord to take care of construction defects and other such repairs.
There may be other rules or laws that are specific to your city or town that may hold a landlord responsible for injuries caused by a tenant’s dogs, but you would need to discuss whether those apply in your situation with an attorney.
Getting compensation for a dog bite even from the owner of the dog can be tricky in Georgia because among other things, the law requires the victim to show that the owner knew the dog was dangerous before it injured the victim. However, it is not impossible to receive compensation.
Contact an Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer
Just because the landlord is not liable for injuries you sustained in a dog attack does not mean that you will be stuck paying all your costs associated with the attack. You can still seek compensation from the dog owner, especially if the owner was negligent in how he or she restrained the dog. To find out if you have a claim against a dog owner for a dog bite, contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia, for more information.