Many insurance companies won’t cover liability for dog bites for your rental policy. Depending on the state that you live in, it is not clear that your tenant can get personal liability insurance to cover dog bites either. For these reasons, it seems prudent to seriously consider whether or not it is worth it to rent to tenants with dogs – even small, seemingly harmless dogs. In the event that they bite and somebody sues, it’s possible that the harmed party will sue you – the landlord – if the bite occurred on your property.read the article
If you currently have tenants with dogs, or you are willing to rent to tenants with dogs in the future, you should definitely find out whether your insurance policy covers the liability associated with the actions of your tenant’s dogs. Better to know in advance what you may be facing than to have it be a surprise. Furthermore, it also pays to examine the laws for your county and state regarding landlord responsibility. Some may not hold you liable unless you knew that the dog was vicious and/or had a bite history.
If you do still feel that it is worth the added exposure to rent to tenants with dogs, do make sure that you know the breed, size and bite history of any of the dogs that your tenants will be keeping. Furthermore, when you renew their lease, make sure that you check in with them about their dog(s) to ensure that there haven’t been any incidents. Then document this information in their rental file. Take any complaints you receive from neighbors seriously. Lastly, when you do your drive by inspections, take special note of the dog’s behavior and consider terminating the lease (as allowed by your local laws) if the dog appears to be vicious.