Does Homeowner's Insurance cover renting a room in the landlord's home?

by Linda
(Van Nuys, CA)

On Thanksgiving Day I was in the backyard of a home in Van Nuys, CA where I rent a room. The homeowner's dog slammed into me and knocked me over, causing me to fall backwards and brace my fall with my hand. I sustained a complicated fracture of my wrist and required surgery to insert a metal plate.

I had been living in the home for two years. The first year he did not have a dog. The second year he brought in a stray husky that was not trained. He has a mortgage with Chase Bank in Van Nuys and does have homeowners insurance.

I'm wondering if Homeowners Insurance is required to cover a person renting a room in the landlord's home? Is separate business or "landlord" insurance required, to to the fact it's not a regular invited guest relationship? Can he evict me if I file a claim or lawsuit for my injuries? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Does Homeowner's Insurance cover renting a room in the landlord's home?":

Linda (Van Nuys, CA):

As a tenant you have a reasonable expectation of safety. This means the landlord and/or owner of the property has a "legal duty of care" to do everything reasonably possible to make the premises safe for its tenants.

When a landlord and/or owner of a premises fails to take reasonable action to maintain a safe environment, and as a result a tenant or other person legally upon the property is injured, the landlord and/or owner is sad to have been negligent. When that negligence is the proximate cause of a tenant's injures, the landlord and/or owner becomes legally liable for injuries and resulting damages sustained.

Here's what you need to know about proximate cause.

California does not have a law requiring homeowners and/or landlords to carry homeowners insurance. However, as you stated, banks holding a mortgage on a home or property normally require homeowners to carry liability insurance.

In your case, your injury should be covered by the homeowners insurance.

If there exists proof the landlord was negligent, you may also be able to file a separate claim against the landlord personally for negligence. This presupposes the landlord knew the dog presented a danger to tenants, and failed to keep the dog restrained in a dog run, on a leash, or inside the home.

The landlord cannot evict you if you file a claim under his or her homeowners insurance. You and the landlord are bound by the lease agreement signed at or about the time you took possession of the apartment. With that said, take some time and thoroughly read your lease agreement.

The State of California has published a manual called "California Tenants - A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities." In it is information about tenants' and landlords' rights and obligations.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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