Protection when renting to pet owners

11 Replies

Is there some type of insurance that I can make a renter have or a contract agreement if they bring a dog that protects me if their dog were to bite someone on my property? I have no problem renting to dog owners and actually encourage "dangerous breeds" as long as I meet them first because I know how hard it was when I was trying to rent with my dogs. The one and only concern I have is that I don't want to get sued if a renters dog bites someone. 

This property is in Northern NJ

Any advice is great!!!

Thanks! 

Andy Rousch

@Andy Rousch

State laws will dictate a lot of who’s liable . New Jersey of coarse will be extremely tenant friendly because it’s ran by liberal lunatics . You could help cover your butt and add an addendum to the lease as a waiver stating the tenant is solely responsible for any damage or biting or attacks the dog incurs and landlord cannot be held responsible. You can call your insurance and they will gladly double your rate to add Fido .

Thanks @Dennis M.   ! Yea I am hesitant to rent in NJ my other rental is in Missouri and super easy for landlords lol but I will do the addendum in the contract. If the tenant is willing to risk his or her own personal assets on their pet than that gives me enough trust that they'll be responsible dog owners 

@Alex S.   this might sound crazy to you but I am marketing towards people with breeds that have almost an impossible time finding a place to live as I went through that struggle with my pitbull when renting. As long as I can cover myself by meeting the dog as well as the dog owner taking all responsibility

@Andy Rousch Renting to pet owners is the kind of thing you do as a landlord until you get burned. Is this a non owner occupied multi family or single family? The only way I would consider going down this road with the dogs is if I was renting out a single family. 

If the property is a multi family one of 2 things ALWAYS happens:

1. Your property will become like Ace Ventura’s apartment and there will be pets everywhere

2. The pets turn off good tenants from renewing their lease and/or applying to live there. 

@Andy Rousch

"As long as I can cover myself by meeting the dog as well as the dog owner taking all responsibility"

There is no possible way to 100% guarantee you will be protected in the event a dog on your property attacks someone. It would be nice but as a landlord it is not possible. As for trusting that someone willing to risk their own personal assets is worth you taking a risk that is illogical. Keep in mind that for many of these types of dog owners the most valuable thing they own is their bowling trophies. Lawsuits go after the money. That will usually be the landlord and since you will have difficulty getting insurance yourself you will be at risk. 

Tenants are never to be trusted. It is very poor business policy to trust. You will become a magnet for every disreputable individual with a dangerous breed of dog out there. 

Accept that you will be taking a major risk, which is why none of us will rent to them, and  take your chances. Good luck.

Originally posted by @Andy Rousch :

@Alex S.   this might sound crazy to you but I am marketing towards people with breeds that have almost an impossible time finding a place to live as I went through that struggle with my pitbull when renting. As long as I can cover myself by meeting the dog as well as the dog owner taking all responsibility

If your specifically looking to attract tenants with pets that can't rent elsewhere. Ensure your insurance policy allows those particular breeds. Some policies may restrict the breeds allowed on the property.

Props for allowing "dangerous breeds". I own multi family and allow the same, I also have three very sweet Dobermans and a pit bull - check this out

Meet the dog, require the spay/neuter certificate. Interview the tenants as pet parents and the dog. Generally, and this likely varies by state and county, but if a dog bites someone or attacks another dog, and was caused by landlord negligence - broken door, window, etc, then you could be liable. Require your pet owning tenants to maintain renters insurance and if their insurance doesn't insure certain breeds, there are companies that will issue policies for those breeds that supplement the main policy. There are people who get caught up in fear because of the news, there are people who perpetuate stereotypes of all kinds, and whose mentality is wrapped around politics and blaming others or a side. The fact is none of that matters. What is in your control is to take the proper measures and not entertain heresy or go down the fear rabbit hole. Take the right measures, protect yourself, and well done.

Thanks Everyone!  @Eric Carr  thanks for the advice. I will make sure they have their breed covered in renters insurance. And I will definitely make sure their spayed/up to date on shots so my house doesn't turn into a breeding shelter lol! It is a single family house, I can see how that could steer tenants away from multi-family unless if all the multi-family renters are owners of dangerous breeds in that case I think they will just be happy to find a rental that allows their dog

And again my main thing is going to be great income/credit and a good background check including a meet and greet of the pups 

@Andy Rousch You should also check to see if any of the breeds you are considering allowing are banned by the city/county where your rental is. Pitbulls are banned by the city where I own rentals.