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Pet Agreements, Renters Insurance, and a Dog Attack–A Landlord’s Story

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Allowing a pet in your rental home can be a good thing…if you’re prepared. By accepting animals, you can increase the number of tenant prospects and charge higher rent, but there are risks associated with pets to consider.

A few months ago, Rylan Rozell with Real Property Management Bakersfield, CA had a dog attack incident at one of the rental properties he manages. The tenant’s dog, a Great Dane, attacked and bit a gardener in the arm that resulted in fifteen stitches in his bicep. The incident took place on the property and fortunately for the gardener, he was able to fend the dog off and safely get out of the yard.

Rylan notified the tenant and property owner about the incident, contacted his attorney, and reviewed the lease on file. Thankfully, they had an executed pet addendum that specifically outlined the ramifications if a pet were to attack or bite someone. Rylan also discovered the tenant had renters insurance, which is always recommended. Because of the pet addendum, the tenant was notified that their options were to either remove the dog from the property or move out of the home. They of course didn’t want to do either option. Rylan and his team personally met with them, but the tenants were adamant about staying and keeping the dog. Because of the unwillingness to comply, an eviction seemed imminent, but Rylan’s team was able to step in and negotiate further with the tenant. Eventually they came to an agreement and were able get the tenant to move without having to pursue an eviction and even had another tenant lined up to move in a week later.

Always having the best interest in mind for our property owners is a priority for Real Property Management. In the case of Real Property Management Bakersfield, implementing an executed pet addendum and recommending renters insurance for their tenants, is just one other reason Real Property Management is trusted by so many investors and property owners.

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  1. Mike Young says:

    Does renters insurance cover all liability should one of the renter’s dogs attack someone — to include a renter bringing a dog he doesn’t own onto the property, and that dog attacking someone? Can a rental contract be written so that a renter is 100% responsible to cover dog attacks?

    I have a $2M umbrella policy to cover liability issues on the rental property. This policy does not cover 4 or 5 kinds of dogs. One kind is pit bulls. My understanding is this, and please correct me if I am wrong. If a tenant brings any of these 4 or 5 kinds of dogs onto the property without my permission and knowledge, should that dog bit someone, the property management company isn’t responsible. The tenant isn’t responsible either beyond the sum total of his assets. If the suit is for $1.5M, and the renter has a sum total of, say, $10,000 in assets, ultimately the owner must make up the difference out of pocket. That’s $1.5M minus $10,000. Scary. No?

  2. Paul Davidson says:

    Great article. Thanks for the info, this is really an interesting post. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Pet Addendum form, I found a blank form in this site PDFfiller. This site also has several related forms that you might find useful.

  3. jess says:

    I’m currently renting a house along with my roommate, we’re both on the lease. her dogs (pitbulls) attacked me yesterday leaving damages to my face (bite wounds). this is the second time the dogs have attacked me and my small dog, but first time of the dogs actually leaving damages. I had to go to the hospital and immediately get shots and put on medication. I no longer want to be living under the same roof as my roommate and her dogs due to safety reasons. my lease is for 10 months, I moved in beginning of October. what can I tell my landlords to allow me to cut me out of the lease and leave it for my roommate instead?

    1. Michael Stone says:

      Due to the fact that our office is not licensed to practice law in any state we are unable to answer questions with regard to Landlord/Tenant or other laws or contracts including individual lease agreement questions. For assistance with these items, please contact your local attorney, fair housing authority or other tenant advocacy programs available.