Neighborhood dispute with my tenants

3 Replies

I recently started renting out my first property, I own the house and the land. On the contract I allowed pets inside the house for a fee and a security deposit of 450. My long time neighbors called me stating that my tenants dog got out of our fenced yard and damaged his property and animal. I was in a rush to rent the property due to me getting a job out of state, I didn't think about switching from owners insurance to renters insurance. My question is can the neighbor come after me the owner for the damages caused? He called me himself and is starting a civil law suit against my tenant and myself by being the owner? The property is located in the state of Florida, thank you in advance. 

Originally posted by @Hugo Uriostegui :

I recently started renting out my first property, I own the house and the land. On the contract I allowed pets inside the house for a fee and a security deposit of 450. My long time neighbors called me stating that my tenants dog got out of our fenced yard and damaged his property and animal. I was in a rush to rent the property due to me getting a job out of state, I didn't think about switching from owners insurance to renters insurance. My question is can the neighbor come after me the owner for the damages caused? He called me himself and is starting a civil law suit against my tenant and myself by being the owner? The property is located in the state of Florida, thank you in advance. 

 In my state, yes the owner can be on the hook and it will not go well if your insurance is not a landlord insurance since that can be viewed as insurance fraud. 

Normally you wouldn't be liable, but did you screen your tenant and have records? Did you have tenants sign something that states the dog is non-aggressive? Did you have proper insurance coverage and if so, some policy covers dangerous dog breeds?

If the answers to all those questions were a no, then the neighbor can come after you and the tenant.Hopefully the dog is not considered a dangerous breed or that will be another thing the neighbor can bring up since a landlord is suppose to ensure the tenants will not be a threat to the neighbors.

I would get your insurance switched ASAP. I wouldn’t worry too much about the threat of a lawsuit until it actually happens. It costs quite a bit in lawyer fees typically, and I’m wondering how much property damage a dog can do (as long as he doesn’t bite a human) I may be wrong, but I don’t see a $20K suit for some chickens and digging some holes. I’d also try to smooth out if possible with your neighbor. Sometimes a few nice words can go a long way.