Drug Activity and Rental Property
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What is Considered Drug Activity?
Drug activity is a broad category, but most states define it as doing any of the following with a controlled substance:
- Distributing, or
What are the Consequences for Drug Activity in a Rental Property?
If you rent property as a tenant and engage in drug activity, you may have violated a Disorderly House Law or a Drug House Law. In which case, you have generally committed a felony and could face punishments that include:
- Jail time, ranging from 2 to 10 years,
- Fines, ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000,
- Community service, usually no less than 30 days,
- Condemnation of the real estate, or
- Eviction from the property.
You may also be found guilty of other drug crimes depending on the drug activity you are involved in.
What are the Landlord's Obligations for Drug Activity in the Rental Property?
If you are a landlord and have no involvement in the drug activity, you may be under a contractual duty to report any criminal activity of your tenants to law enforcement. Generally, you also have the right to evict the tenant without violating the lease. You may also be able to sue the tenant for damages in some states.
If you are a landlord and are involved in the drug activity, you may have violated a Disorderly House Law or Drug House Law. In which case, you could face the same punishments as a tenant who engages in drug activity. You may also face liability for the criminal acts of your tenants.
What are the Consequences for Drug Activity if it is my Neighbor or Other Residents Who are Doing it?
You may be under a contractual duty to report any criminal activity of your neighbors to law enforcement and your landlord. Outside a failure to do so, you can not generally be punished for their activity. If you have reported your neighbor's drug activity to law enforcement and your landlord, and the neighbors continue their conduct, you can generally do any of the following:
- Stop paying rent and not violate the lease,
- Move out and not violate the lease, or
- Sue the landlord for damages.
Do I Need an Attorney if I am Involved With Drug Activity in Relation to Rental Property?
If you are a tenant, a landlord, or have a neighbor involved in drug activity in relation to rental property, it is highly recommended that you contact a landlord/tenant or criminal attorney because of the severity of the issue. Only an attorney will be able to properly defend you, explain the issues to you, or help protect your rights.
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Last Modified: 04-21-2014 05:03 PM PDT
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