LandlordsNewsletterA57-Fall2016, Page 6

LandlordsNewsletterA57-Fall2016, Page 6

Landlord-Tenant Law: Pets – and Service and Support Animals – Part 1 of 2

Continued from page 5

when renting the property to a tenant with a dog ( Uccello v. Laudenslayer (1975) 44 Cal.App.3d 504 ).

2. What about animals other than dogs?

There are no statutes regarding other

animals. The general rule in California is

that an owner of an animal is responsible

for the injuries caused by a domestic

animal with known dangerous or vicious

tendencies. ( Drake v. Dean (1993) 15

Cal.App.4th 915, 921 ). Similar to the

reasoning in the dog cases, a landlord could be found liable

only if you were aware of the vicious or dangerous propensities

of the tenant’s animal and did not take steps to have the animal

removed from the property.

3. What steps might you want to consider to lower the risk they

will be sued over the conduct of a tenant’s animal? Unless you

have actual knowledge of the animal’s dangerous tendencies

you are unlikely to be held liable. However, you may wish to

consider the following actions to reduce potential liability.

If the tenant has a pet, your lease should require the tenant to maintain a standard renter’s insurance policy. Most rental insurance policies will cover against a bite by a pet owned by the policyholder.

This requirement should not be

imposed if the tenant is keeping the animal

as a reasonable accommodation of his

or her disability. You should also check

with your own insurance company about

coverage for animal bites on the property. Many insurers will not provide insurance at all or will limit coverage if certain breeds are allowed on the property.

If that is the case and you allow pets, you could specify that certain breeds are not allowed, although an exception may have to be made if it is a disabled tenant requesting to keep a certain breed as a reasonable accommodation.

Tenant Violations of a Lease’s Pet Provisions

1. What if a tenant violates a lease’s pet provisions? If a tenant

violates a provision of the lease regarding the keeping of pets,