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Law and Real Estate

October 04, 1987|KENNETH J. ARAN | Aran practices real estate law in Westwood as a member of the law firm of Aran & Miller. and

Much has been said lately about the vicious propensities of the pit bull. In one case, a child was bitten by a pit bull, and his parents sued not only the neighbor who owned the dog and the neighbor's landlord, but also the landlord of the property where the child resided.

It was alleged by the child's parents that their landlord knew of the dog's vicious propensities, but failed to warn them of the danger or report it to proper authorities.

The case was thrown out of court. The reason was that although a landlord's obligation to protect tenants from harm has been significantly expanded in recent years, there is generally no duty to protect tenants from dangerous conditions off the premises or dangerous persons or animals who do not reside on the premises and who enter the property in a manner beyond the control of the landlord.

Furthermore, the court held that if there is a dangerous condition which is obvious, off the premises or in connection with persons or animals coming onto the premises, the landlord could reasonably expect the tenant to discover such condition and take appropriate action to protect himself.

The long and the short of this case is that a landlord may be held to be responsible for dangerous conditions existing on the landlord's property, but generally not for dangerous conditions existing off the premises or for dangerous conditions created by persons or animals coming onto the premises which are beyond the landlord's reasonable control.

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