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Why Renting to Dog Owners Could Cost You Everything

As a landlord, I was stunned to hear news last week of an opinion issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court, which stated that landlords could be held liable if their tenants’ dog bites someone. Now, instead of simply weighing the usual wear-and-tear costs associated with allowing dogs in rental units, landlords will need to determine whether renting to dog owners could put their very livelihood at stake.

Jeffrey Greenberger, attorney for the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association, responded to the opinion by calling it “scary.” He added he “knows of no other case where the landlord is treated as though he owns the tenant’s pet.”

With important court decisions such as these being made against landlords, it’s important to be proactive in how we approach possible tenants. In an analysis of the opinion on, the following suggestions were made to landlords in an effort to provide more protection:

  • Review and, as needed, revise current lease agreements
  • If necessary, adjust property management practices to protect against or avoid liability for tenants’ dogs
  • Review current insurance policies and consider supplemental coverage as a way to protect assets in case of a lawsuit

Such opinions as these remind us that, as landlords, we need to be vigilant in planning for the unexpected. Just as traditional home insurance policies will help us combat faulty wiring and bad plumbing, supplemental policies like those offered by XINSURANCE can protect us from litigation when we least expect it.

For more information about supplemental insurance and how it can help you fill much needed gaps as a landlord, click here.