Legal responsibilities of landlords

| 26/07/2016

Does a landlord have any liability for the acts – invading neighbours’ property, killing pets, defecating in the neighbours’ yard, general nuisance like barking, for example – of the untethered dog(s) of the landlord’s tenants?

Auntie’s answer: I feel safe in assuming that you are an aggrieved tenant. I put your question to a local lawyer and I do not think you are going to like his answer. To give you an idea where this is heading, Peter Polack first pointed out that the landlord and tenant laws in Cayman are “in dire need of modernisation”.

He then offered a historical (and depressing if you are a renter) perspective on this legal issue: “Some years ago, a draft bill was circulated but powerful landlord interests were able to stall it as tenants were being given rights common elsewhere in the world but unknown locally.”

He noted there were some applicable sections (44 and 45) in the Registered Land Law (2004 Revision) under “Leases”, but those two sections mostly look at lease lengths and notice periods, which I am sure is why Mr Polack warned, “Until legislators have the political will to protect the many tenants in this country against the power of landlords nothing will happen and tenants will simply have to suffer.”

Therefore, and not surprisingly, the news is not good as far as your question is concerned, as Mr Polack said, “Until pressure is brought at the ballot box to improve tenant rights, tenants will have to continue stepping past dog excrement, no sleep for barking dogs, endure the humiliation of trespass and other general nuisances.”

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (6)

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  1. annoymous says:

    The Residential Tenancies Law (2009 R) was passed in the LA by tge PPM Administration but because majority of them are Landlords that is as far as it got. They only brought the legislation to tge LA because it was around Election so they could get the support. But the law died and the People paid over $67,009 to amend it fir absolutely nothing at all. That’s how the PPM operates!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is a much much bigger problem on Grand Cayman than just a landlord/tenant one. It involves large numbers of delinquent ‘owners’ (including ad hoc “breeders”) who let their dogs roam free doing as they please or, if they keep them chained (and barking) for guard dog purposes, let them off twice a day to go and crap in other peoples’ properties and do all sorts of nasty other stuff like killing pets at the same time. It has been spoken about and written about but nothing gets done. The trapping people at Agriculture are only two in number and even if they were brilliant (they are not), they only trap four days a week as they say they can’t trap on Fridays as they don’t work on Saturdays and it would be cruel to leave a dog in a trap over the weekend. Fair enough, but it makes for a pretty ineffective program and the island continues to have far too many troublesome and sometimes vicious dogs, operating singly and in packs, running about the place. Unfortunately, we cannot all afford to live in gated communities where such owners and their dogs would not be allowed to live.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Tenant-Landlord Law in the Cayman Islands is so archaic that I recommend you read it for fun. The language itself will make you cringe. So bring a copy to your next party to make fun of it.
    Tenants have no rights according to this Law, it only protects Landlords who do as they are pleased. They would even evict you without a cause and get away with it. And when you are on a street with all your possessions still inside, the Police won’t intervene stating it is a civil matter. In the USA, a Landlord who evicted a tenant without a court order will be arrested if he doesn’t allow a tenant an entry to the dwelling.
    I had seen how a greedy landlord charged my friend for the rust on forks and spoons that was there before she moved into the property. Another one would take a white towel and start swiping every nook and cranny with it in search of “uncleanliness”, after the apartments was already professionally cleaned by a tenant.
    It is rather hilarious how greedy landlords are to find ANY reason to keep you deposit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why should the landlord be responsible for something which is the responsibility of the tenant? Why wouldnt the tenant charged with animal abuse/neglect?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the landlord has rented out the accommodation and allowed the tenant to keep a dog? But your point is a sensible one 5:50.

      • Anonymous says:

        With that premise, then if the tenant commited a crime such as murder/rape/drug use/pedophilia/commercial sales without a license and the landlord did not know these things were happening, you are saying the landlord should bear some responsibility also? We are talking residential tenants and not a bar.

        It seems that the responsibility wants to be passed onto the deeper pocket, rather than the individual who should be responsible for their own actions and punished for their own actions. Many landlords do not even live on island and have property managers to maintain the premises. Even if people use professional property managers or hire a person off the street to maintain the property, they aren’t babysitters or the tenant’s keepers. Individuals should be responsibile for their own wrong doings.