Tenant2 bit by Tenant1 dog wants to come after landlord

7 Replies

I got a letter from Tenant2's lawyer who is investigating an incident where he said Tenant1's dog bit him.  

I talked to Tenant1 and she said his story is not correct and will testify as necessary to defend the landlord from any wrongdoing.  
This all occurred inside the house: why did Tenant2 decide to live in house if he knew about Tenant1's dogs!  

Tenant2 was trying to break up a fight between his dog (not in the lease) and her dog (the approved dog in the lease).  During that breakup, he got bit and now he wants to make the landlord liable?  That's hogwash!

Does this guy have any case whatsoever to try to sue the landlord?  

Tenant1's dogs are: (1) hound (2) mutt

Tenant2 was added to the lease this year but has since moved out of the house

@Robert L. You really need to check with a local attorney.They should review your lease and also tell you their opinion on your situation. You need to find a very experienced attorney versed in landlord tenant laws and case law. There is no other option. At this point you may just wait it out and the issue will work itself out but having an attorney on your side will help just in case.

NO they do not have a case.

Turn it over to your insurance company to deal with.

Is the letter from the attorney a demand letter? A letter seeking information? What does the letter ask of you? No one is suing you at this point and if they did make a claim, you would turn it over to your insurance company to handle. Then the lawyers would sort it out.

What you can do to protect yourself is to: Have clear expectations in the form of a well worded rental agreement; Abide by the landlord-tenant laws for your jurisdiction; Maintain sufficient insurance; Communicate with integrity and honesty; Be polite, courteous, firm, fair, and professional; answer only what is asked of you and do so with fact, not opinion.

Unless you were negligent in some way, you should be fine. Were you aware there was an unauthorized animal brought onto the property? Seems dog #1 (approved) was defending his territory from dog #2 (unapproved). Or perhaps one dog or dog owner provoked the other one and the animals reacted.  Did you properly screen tenant #2 and ask them about any animals they might have?

People CAN sue for anything but that doesn't mean they will or that they will win.

If the dog was not authorized to be on the property, I see no reason why you would be liable. Document everything, follow your processes, and don't sweat it. 

Personally, I would probably respond back with a very short letter explaining that the dog belonging to Tenant1 was unauthorized and if they attempt to sue me, I will counter sue for court costs, attorney fees, etc.

@Marcia Maynard , the letter is for seeking information to investigate a claim for injuries and damages. I am aware of Tenant1's 2 dogs (in the lease), but tenant2's dog is not to my knowledge at all.  

That is exactly what happened about the "provoking" part.  Tenant2 barged into the house when Tenant1's dogs were not properly calmed down and the animals reacted to each other.  Tenant2 then got in the middle of that "dog fight" and was bitten.  

Tenant1 said she has witnesses to this fact and will gladly testify or provide any statements.

If something happened on my property and someone was injured, I'd be cooperative. I'd answer the attorney's questions as best I could and stick to facts of which I had first hand knowledge, and not hearsay or opinions. I wouldn't share anything more than what the other party has a need to know. If there was a claim made against me, I would contact my insurance agent. 

If you have a chance, observe the animal control hearings in your area (if they have them). You'll learn a lot about animal behavior and how people behave. 

Would tenant's rental insurance have helped in this case?

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