Gerald owns a rental house, which he rented in 1993 to Tracy and Fin. The lease authorized them to have a springer spaniel dog on the property.

Unknown to Gerald, that dog died in 1994. Several months later, also unknown to the landlord, the tenants acquired a Dalmatian and a pit bull dog named Kemo.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

In 2001, Brian, a minor child visitor to the residence, was severely bitten by Kemo. Brian, through his guardian, sued landlord Gerald for recovery of monetary damages for his injuries. But Gerald replied he did not know the tenants had a pit bull or Kemo’s dangerous propensities.

Tenants Tracy and Fin testified they didn’t recall Gerald ever seeing the pit bull dog on his infrequent visits to the front of the property.

If you were the judge would you rule the landlord is liable to little Brian for his injuries?

The judge said no!

There was no evidence presented, the judge began, that Gerald had actual knowledge his tenants, Tracy and Fin, had a pit bull dog on the property or of its dangerous propensities.

If the landlord had known about Kemo, and if there were evidence of any prior attacks on others, then it is possible landlord Gerald might be held liable for negligence, the judge explained.

However, unless Gerald was aware of his tenant’s dangerous dog on the property and if he failed to take action to prevent a foreseeable injury caused by that dog, a landlord has no liability to an injured visitor to the property, such as Brian, the judge ruled.

Based on the 2004 California Court of Appeal decision in Yuzon v. Collins, 116 Cal.App.4th 149.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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