Landlords Now Liable For Tenant’s Dogs: What It Will Mean For You

A ground breaking ruling in the Kentucky Supreme Court means that landlords are now liable for injuries caused by dogs of their tenants:

‘The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued a potentially groundbreaking opinion that a landlord can be held liable when a tenant’s dog attacks someone, but the ruling didn’t help a Newport family that brought the lawsuit…

…Retired Judge Stan Billingsley of Carrollton, a Northern Kentucky landlord, said that he’s reevaluating his policy of allowing tenants to have dogs.’

The first and most obvious observation is that the Judge’s ruling is absurd! It is incomprehensible how a landlord  can be held responsible for a dog owned by someone else. But in the legal world common sense holds little sway, so here are some of the immediate implications of the ruling:

For The Landlords the urgent need is to reassess their level of legal protection. Where a new lease agreement is sought, the wording needs to be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that the landlord is protected in the event of a dog attack. For the existing lease agreements the level of public liability insurance and what it covers needs to be urgently reviewed.

For The Tenants the situation is unlikely to change much in the short term. In the long term however, the tenants with dogs are likely to find it harder and more expensive to source suitable accommodation. For those already in lease agreements it may be prudent to extend the term of their agreements to protect themselves against the unexpected.

One thing you can be sure of – the real winners of this ruling will be the lawyers.

About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim is a house call Veterinarian in Melbourne
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