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Old 10-04-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
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Thumbs down As property owners, can we be held liable? *RESOLVED, THANKS MAMAS!*

Question for any law-smart DS mama's until my husband can get home & contact our attorney to find out for sure.

Just had a knock at my door. A preacher here in town is wanting to know our insurance information. To explain why....

We own some property here in town. It's 5 lots with a trailer on it. Nothing fancy. About a year ago, Dh allowed his cousin, his girlfriend, and the girlfriends adult son to rent the place. They've completely trashed the place. They live like, I hate to say it, TOTAL SKANKS. If I had it my way, they would have been gone a LONG time ago, but it's Dh's family and I just stay out of that mess. Long story short... when/if they decide to move, the trailer is being tore down & hauled in for scrap. It is THAT bad.

Moving on. Because the only thing of value is the property & the fact that they lived so disgusting, Dh never saw it necessary to carry insurance on it. (I know, I know.)

About a month ago, his cousins dog bit the preacher when he was on the property for whatever reason. We were not there. We NEVER go over there. He brings us rent, continues to live there, and Dh gave up on repairs a LONG time ago because of how filthy they are. You literally just can't walk in the house without getting physically ill. Yes, the appropriate agencies have been notified and have even visisted. But since there are no children living there and we are not a zoned area, they do nothing about it.

So to get to the point....

Can we be held liable for his cousins dog biting this guy simply because we are the owners of the property, even though it is NOT our dog? Or is the owner of the animal help liable?

Like I said, Dh will call our attorney this evening to find out for sure... but I'm a little panicked right now & wondering what DS mama's think or know on this situation.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

I *think* (I'm not a lawyer) that he'd have to prove that you (owners of the land) knew the dog was dangerous or you were taking care of the dog. Since I'm assuming you didn't know, it's not your problem.

ETA: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encycloped...hapter4-7.html Pretty much what I thought. You could be held responsible in theory though if the dog bites again now that you know it's a threat.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

Yes, that is why landlord's around here do not allow certain breeds of dog, their insurance does not cover it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

Unless your state laws say otherwise they can go after either one of you. Generally they choose the deeper pocket. I was told by our attorney that even with a owner financing (me) sale contract recorded by the county and ins in the buyers name since my name is on the deed until it is paid in full by the buyer any injured party can come after me if they chose to. A long shot does the cousin have renter's ins? Some things we added to are arrangement with our buyers- even though it is their home, they have to notify us any pets, dangers and damages. They pay the ins as part of their payment, but the policy is actually paid by me so that I can make sure there is enough coverage and it is paid.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:46 AM   #5
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Depends on the state, but more than likely, yes. I'm on the app...what state are you in?
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommajewels View Post
About a month ago, his cousins dog bit the preacher when he was on the property for whatever reason. We were not there.
I wonder what this reason was for him being on the property to begin with. I guess there's a lot of questions to be answered but either way I hope you guys get it all sorted out.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:49 AM   #7
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

We had no knowledge of the dog being loose or vicious, and according to the man who came by, the renter has already "gotten rid of it."

He definitely doesn't carry renters insurance. I doubt that place could even be insured again after the damage they have done. :/

Thanks for the replies, ladies.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #8
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

Did he file a police report?

Did he go to the doctor?

What exactly is he asking for from your insurance?
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #9
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

wow. I am not up on laws. But I am disgusted by the fact that someone who claims to be a "man of God" would come after someone who has NO TIES to the dog to get money for something they had no control over.

Also, I'm really appalled by the idea that you could be held liable for something that happened on your property when 1) you were not present, 2) it was not your animal, and 3) how could you have even known the dog was a threat to other people? 4) did you even know the dog was there?

Ugh. I'm really sorry mama. What a crappy, horrible, terrible situation. That is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Re: As property owners, can we be held liable?

We are in Missouri.
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Expecting Emersyn Jewel in March 2013!
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