As a landlord, you assume several liability risks when selecting tenants to rent your property. While most people are responsible and reliable, some tenants may damage their unit, abandon their lease or, most concerningly, engage in illegal activities on the premises.
Should you discover that a tenant uses illegal drugs on your property, it is essential to know what to do to minimize the risk to you and your business.
Drug use on your property
Landlords maintain responsibility for the general care and upkeep of the property while allowing their renters sufficient privacy during their tenancy. Illegal drug use compromises the health and safety of other tenants and can put your business in danger. Discovering drug use may happen by accident, or you may notice several signs such as:
- Frequent visitors to a unit at odd hours
- Strange odors coming from a unit
- Neighbor complaints
- Increased utility usage
None of these signs are sure indicators of illegal drug usage. However, because drug activity may impact your livelihood, any suspicions should prompt a check-in.
Property owners should prioritize the health and safety of their property, their tenants and themselves when investigating potential drug use on the premises. It is crucial to adhere to rules, regulations and laws when handling an issue. Failure to do so could create more legal trouble.
As a landlord, it is important to have a clear rental agreement prohibiting the criminal activity. Drug-related complaints are grounds for eviction and should occur promptly to avoid harming other tenants or assuming responsibility for a known drug issue.
Rather than involve yourself, you may choose to reach out to law enforcement to minimize personal and business risk. The best course of action is often to proceed with healthy caution and consult professionals who can assist with the legalities of rental agreements and investigation methods.