Dog Clause Leases 270


Landlords: every residential lease with a dog-owning tenant needs a thorough, comprehensive "dog clause." If a dog bite victim cannot recover compensation from the tenant who owned the attacking dog, the victim usually will focus on holding the landlord responsible for the accident. A dog clause will dissuade and hopefully defeat any such claim. Buy it once, use it forever. A solid "dog clause" will accomplish the following:

  • Clearly prohibit dogs other than guide dogs
  • Establish that the landlord was not informed of any viciousness on the part of the tenant's dog
  • Prove that the tenant did not tell the landlord about any defect like a broken gate or fence
  • Require renter's insurance with proper terms and adequate coverage amounts
  • Establish reasonable guidelines for bringing new pets onto the premises
  • Make the tenant liable for any damage done by his pets and those of his guests
  • Force the tenant to defend and indemnify against any lawsuits because of damage by his pets or his guests' pets
  • Enable the landlord to evict the tenant who has a dangerous animal of any kind


Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips has authored Residential Lease Dog Clause. It covers all of the foregoing points and therefore can protect a landlord from the claims of some victims of canine-inflicted injury. New tenants should receive the Addendum when they enter into the lease; existing tenants should be asked to sign it at the start of the next rental term (i.e., a month-to-month tenant would sign it at the beginning of his next month, while a year-to-year tenant would do so at the beginning of the next year of the term).

The Residential Lease Dog Clause can be downloaded from this website. Please note that it cannot be considered a substitute for insurance, or for the guidance of your own attorney (who should be called upon to review it and compare it with the lease that you currently are using). Nothing and nobody can guarantee that you will not be sued, and no lease or "dog clause" is a guarantee that you will win every case, but you can decrease the odds against you by using this Residential Lease Dog Clause.