Dog Bites if the Owner is Renting



dog bite attorney



Landlord Responsibility for Dog Attacks

A landlord has a duty to protect its tenants in connection with a vicious dog of which the landlord has knowledge. In White v. Whitworth, 509 So. 2d 378, 380 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987), the court stated, "A landlord who recognizes and assumes the duty to protect co-tenants from dangerous propensities of a tenant's pet is required to undertake reasonable precautions to protect co-tenants from reasonably foreseeable injury occasioned thereby." See also Vasquez v. Lopez, 509 So. 2d 1241 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987) (holding that landlord may be liable for tenant's dog if landlord knows dog is vicious and has sufficient control of premises to protect plaintiff).


Where the lease agreement includes rules which specifically prohibit certain breeds of dogs, the landlord can be held liable for hi's failure to enforce those rules despite knowledge that prohibited dogs reside upon the premises. For example, in Ramirez v. M.L. Management Co., Inc., 920 So.2d 36 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005), the landlord was aware that a tenant's pit bulls had threatened other tenants, but the landlord did not evict the owner of the pit bulls. When they attacked a child who was on adjacent property, the landlord was held liable.


However, there are exceptions to liability. There might not be liability where the victim is a trespasser or exceeded her invitation to be on the premises. For example, in Anderson v. Walthal, 468 So. 2d 291 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985), a woman coming to a home for a business purpose went around to the back of the home where a dog bit her. The landlord claimed that the woman had exceeded her "invitation" by wandering into an area behind the home where the dog was located. The court held that a jury question existed as to whether the woman had exceeded the scope of her business invitation.Michael E. Seelie will gather the necessary data, and determined the extent of the injury and will know both the best way to proceed and the range of value the claim possesses.


Most dog bites occur to children. In Florida, financial recovery on behalf of a child in a dog bite injury claim is placed in a protective account until the child is 18 in most circumstances. Ensuring that the recovery for your child is maximized and properly structured to provide full benefit to your child's future is an extraordinarily important reason to seek legal counsel.