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Marijuana growing in my rental

59 posts by 51 users

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Mr Good

Bellevue, Washington

Feb 04 '11, 05:09 AM


Hello. I rent a house with a separate garage to a single mom and her 12 year old son. She pays on time, has been in for a few months.

I recently had a contractor rake up all the leaves and do a nice spruce up of the property. Today I went to have a look, then noticed she put a new lock on the garage door. She has the windows all covered but I peaked through on one side and see clearly a single marijuana plant with a proper grow light and a fan. I have been in this garage about 8 weeks ago and it was cluttered with a ton of her junk. I don't think she has room to turn this into a mega grow operation. Power bills do not indicate heavy electric either.

I decided to enter the house to inspect for plants in the house. She was not home, I went in anyway. She keeps the house orderly and clean. Her son's bedroom looks like a typical 12 year old. There is nothing inside the home that concerns me.

I am not sure what to do. I have a concern that the wiring in the garage can not support even a fan and grow light 24/7, it is a fire hazard. Aside from that, I need access to the garage in case of emergency so I need a key to the door. And there is the problem of it being illegal.

I am inclined to serve notice that she has broken the lease and to move out, but then we have lawyer fees. And she pays well and keeps the house clean.

Another part of me wants to have a face-to-face personal conversation and tell her that she can keep one plant there as long as she removes it while I have an electrician wire the new outlet that I had already planned for that garage (there is a "home run" on its own circuit going to the garage but it's not yet hooked up as an outlet).

Tell me what you would do please. Thanks!



Mike Jakobczak

Real Estate Investor from Toronto, Ontario

Feb 04 '11, 05:15 AM
5 votes


Sounds like you have a problem.

I would be very careful with allowing that and her knowing that you know. If there is a problem with the law and she turns around and says "but the landlord says it was okay" could be bigger problems for you.



Steve Crawford

Real Estate Attorney from Republic, Missouri

Feb 04 '11, 05:18 AM
9 votes


Better legal fees for eviction than criminal defense.

You are not in any trouble just because you own the home. The exception would be, once you have "knowledge" of the activity, it can be argued that you are in actual possession........even though there is a lease.

Allowing her to retain possession with your knowledge (that is accomodating her with extra electrical capacity) to run grow lights is probably worse.

You dont have to evict her, but you if she wants to stay, you will have to let her know the dope has to go. You own the property and you can't be a party to her criminal activity.



Kevin Yeats

Real Estate Lender from Fort Pierce, Florida

Feb 04 '11, 05:19 AM
2 votes


I agree with Mike on his point. Accomodating her use by providing better wiring is implicit agreement and cooperation.

Second, would you approve if she put a new lock on the house? If no, then you need to disapprove of her installing a lock on the garage for the same reasons.



Jarred E.

Real Estate Investor from Boca Raton , Florida

Feb 04 '11, 05:35 AM


All are correct, not to mention in some states they can actually seize the home for drug distribution.



Sharad M. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Northwest Indiana, Lake County

Feb 04 '11, 05:37 AM


I would ask the tenant to move out ASAP and be very relieved once she's moved out. A tenant who pays rent on time is not worth the criminal defense, like Steve pointed out above.

Honestly, I am surprised that you are even considering letting her grow this in your house. It would be one thing if you had no idea about it, but now knowing the situation, it makes you part of it. Get rid of the problem ASAP, IMO.



Sharad M., Max Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 773-977-9115
Website: http://www.MaxPropertiesLLC.com
[email protected] 773-977-9115


Jeffrey K.

Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Feb 04 '11, 05:59 AM
1 vote


I would just make it about the lock. Don't let her know you know about the plant. Tell her you noticed the lock was changed and that she needs to put the original one back on.



Bienes Raices

Orlando, Florida

Feb 04 '11, 07:10 AM


Originally posted by Max I:

Honestly, I am surprised that you are even considering letting her grow this in your house. It would be one thing if you had no idea about it, but now knowing the situation, it makes you part of it. Get rid of the problem ASAP, IMO.

I guess people's attitudes are changing about pot. But it's one thing to have a tenant who smokes it discreetly and another to have someone growing or selling it.



Jeff Z

Real Estate Agent from Portland, Oregon

Feb 04 '11, 08:15 AM
7 votes


Originally posted by goodvalley:
And there is the problem of it being illegal.

Two things: #1: Is it illegal? Washington State is a medical marijuana state. Does she have her medical card? If so, then there is nothing illegal about it.

But on the subject of illegality, you entered the property with no notice, without an emergency being present? Without her being present? I'm willing to bet that is a clear violation of Landlord-Tenant law in Washington State.



Jeff B.

Real Estate Investor from Lake Worth, Florida

Feb 04 '11, 08:32 AM


There is something illegal about it because Federal laws trump state laws and the Feds don't recognize medical marijuana laws.

DEA states it's a Schedule I substance with no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
The DEA doesn't want a casual user they only want the
growers and trafficker of larger quantities of pot. They currently tolerate the states medical marijuana laws but at any time can arrest and prosecute for breaking them. Not to mention does anyone know the forfeiture laws regarding allowing something like this?

On a lighter note in Amsterdam they tolerate the natural growing of up to 5 marijuana plants as long as it's for personal consumption.



Mike Grayford

Rehabber from Simi Valley, California

Feb 04 '11, 10:40 AM


Why do you want to keep someone in your house who is not only violating your lease, but also locking you out of the garage and committing a felony on top of it?



Mitch Kronowit Donor

SFR Investor from Orange County, California

Feb 04 '11, 10:44 AM
19 votes


So I guess accepting the rent payments in pot is out of the question? :mrgreen:



Mike Grayford

Rehabber from Simi Valley, California

Feb 04 '11, 10:49 AM


I recommend immediately notifying the police. Tell them you are a landlord, and you noticed what appears to be a marijuana plant being grown in your garage. Now that you know about it, you have liability. You don't want to be arrested here for something your tenant is doing.



John C

Real Estate Investor from SouthCentral, Iowa

Feb 04 '11, 11:19 AM
6 votes


Dont call the cops on the poor lady just trying to pay her rent and feed her kids. Buy her a curtain and an outlet and raise the rent and get CASH



Linda R.

Real Estate Investor from Southeast, Iowa

Feb 04 '11, 12:07 PM


goodvalley,
How do you know it is a "proper grow light"? LOL, I would have a talk about the lock on the garage, let her know it is unacceptable. I'd probably be so pissed she added a lock to the garage that I would've called the cops and let them handle it. Anyway, bring up the lock and the problem may take care of itself. Let us know what you do, I would be interested in hearing the outcome!



John Hostetler

Real Estate Investor from Encinitas, California

Feb 04 '11, 12:17 PM


Originally posted by Jeff B.:
There is something illegal about it because Federal laws trump state laws and the Feds don't recognize medical marijuana laws.

DEA states it's a Schedule I substance with no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
The DEA doesn't want a casual user they only want the
growers and trafficker of larger quantities of pot. They currently tolerate the states medical marijuana laws but at any time can arrest and prosecute for breaking them. Not to mention does anyone know the forfeiture laws regarding allowing something like this?

The Obama Admin has formally stated that they have ended raids on medical marijuana distributors. At least in CA, this is a non-issue:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/us/19holder.html

I suggest you check local laws regarding growing and, if it IS legal to grow a certain number of plants for personal use, have that conversation with the tenant. If she is following local laws and has all the proper documentation, CAN you evict her?



William Coats

Real Estate Agent from Battle Creek, Michigan

Feb 04 '11, 12:21 PM
6 votes


I would consult an attorney...your renter may now have an ownership interest as a "Joint Tenant"



Curt Davis

Real Estate Investor from Memphis, Tennessee

Feb 04 '11, 12:29 PM
1 vote


Maybe she was growing something else for her son, RIGHT!!!, RIGHT!! Maybe you did not see it clearly like you thought. Dont kill your rental income. Besides, Marijuana is not really a drug, it would be differnet if she had a meth lab.



Medium_buymemphisnow_stacksCurt Davis, Buy Memphis Now
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 901-207-8977
Website: http://www.BuyMemphisNow.com
KAIZEN Realty 901-221-4041


Mike Haynes

Real Estate Investor from Verona, Missouri

Feb 04 '11, 12:39 PM


they may also be "Tenants in common".
Just by peaking in the window he could tell what kind of plant it was and also know it was a proper grow light.

We might also look at the age of the responders. Us old fuddy duddy type might give one answer and the younger generation might give another type anbswer



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