My renters are smoking pot...

189 Replies

That title caught your eye, didn't it?

I have 4 tenants in this property.

So tenant A & B saying tenant C is smoking pot in the house (I've already given her a warning based on prior rumors). Also, tenant B says tenant D is doing it as well. I have written statements from both tenant A & B. Is that enough to evict the pot smokers?

Well its legal in most states these days whats the issue

Haha, sadly true. Well, it's marijuana, ecstacy, and shrooms, all inside the property. And it sounds like there might be some drug dealing going on too...

Plus, it's still illegal to possess or use in Utah

@Jay Hinrichs  

So would 1 written statement be enough to evict a tenant? Or rather, would it be enough to hold up if she took me to court?

Evict someone because of rumors?  I personally do not trust trouble makers.  I live in Colorado where cannabis is legal. In addition I live in a teeny-tiny travel trailer in the mountains.  My 20 year old son smokes quite a bit  of cannabis [ was one of the first minors  who received the cannabis card in the state because of excruciating neurological pain] and it does stink.  BUT, the smell does not creep permanently into everything like cigarette smoking does.  If the smoke does bother A and B, maybe you should ask C or D to start using a vaporizer.

I highly doubt you can do it for that.   Call the police if you feel the need to do something.

If they are paying the rent i'd just let it continue and not renew their lease.

@Vicki Gleitz  

Sadly, it's more than rumor, I have written statements from both tenants, and I think I've smelled it when standing outside as well. 

1) It's not just pot, it's ecstasy as well, both of which are illegal here in Utah.

2) Now that I know what's going on, I'm potentially liable.

3) I already warned her, and it's a direct violation of the contract.

4) Sounds like they are dealing as well.

5) My other tenants won't put up with this going on while they are living there. And frankly, I won't either.

Because you are a landlord, not their parents?    

This does make me ponder if its ok to drug test people during the lease application.    Not that I'd personally care.      

@Leigh C  So as a landlord I can't evict someone for violating the lease repeatedly?

@Leigh C  More than anything, the other 2 tenants feel very uneasy about the whole thing, and I won't stand for them having to deal with illegal activity so that I don't have to inconvenience the tenants that are breaking the lease.

If it's directly against your contract, illegal, and you have sufficient evidence, then kick them out. It sounds like tenant A&B are decent tenants and i would not lose them for the sake's of someone who is breaking the law and your contract. Go for the eviction, and, frankly, i would report it to the police to be on the safe side. At the very least, if you have it on file that you made a report, they cannot hold you liable for anything the tenants may have done.

@Kenneth Huddleston  

Thanks for the advice. It seems like I'm going to be losing tenants anyways, so might as well be the one's doing illegal activity. 

My plan was to give them 2 options:

1) Move out peaceably within 3 days and I give you back your deposit.

2) I serve the eviction notice, file a police report, and keep the deposit.

I'm dying to know....what do you have in your lease that you are going to use to boot them.

I just checked up on Utah Tenant Laws and although 3 days would be legal, i would advise giving them longer. If you just show up at their door and say "You have 3 days to get out" they are much more inclined to fight you and, in the long run, cost you more money in eviction fees, lost rent, possible damages, so on. If you reason with them and give them fair notice, perhaps 1-2 weeks, they are much more inclined to follow along. Also, it will make you case much more solid if it comes down to an eviction. If the 3 days notice comes up in court although you won't have broken any laws, things would be more likely to go in the tenants favor. That being said, if they don't show any signs of moving out within the first few days, you should start to file for eviction ASAP as you can always withdraw the claim if it isn't necessary.

No Problem! Hope it works out for you!

@Leigh C  

5- "no part of the premises shall be used at any time during the term of this agreement by tenant for the purpose of carrying on any business, profession, or trade of any kind, or for any purpose other than as a private single family dwelling."

5- "Tenant shall comply with any and all laws, ordinances, rules and orders of any and all governmental or quasi-governmental authorities affecting the cleanliness, use, occupancy and preservation of the premises."

34 -"Smoking is absolutely forbidden in or around these premises."

36 - "This agreement shall be governed, construed and interpreted by, through and under the laws of the state of Utah."

@Taylor Chiu  You do have grounds for taking action. If there is illegal drug activity occurring on your property it will only get worse. Be swift, firm and fair. I don't know Utah landlord-tenant laws, but in our state we would serve them with a Notice to Comply with the terms of the rental agreement.  We would also serve a Notice to Enter and do an inspection to see if they are violating other terms of the rental agreement as well. Sit down with them and talk about a move-out plan. If you have the ability to do a no cause Notice to Terminate, you could use that if they don't move on their own. Eviction should be a last resort. Take a listen to Podcast 83 and some of the strategies we use when we need to get a tenant out. We are in a state that legalized Marijuana, but we do not allow it to be smoked in our units or on the premises, just as we do not allow tobacco smoking. Good Luck!

@Marcia Maynard  

Thank you Marcia! This, along with what Kenneth said is exactly the type of information I've been looking for. I will be listening to episode 83 on my way to work!

Are those notices something I can print off from a website?

@Taylor Chiu  

This sounds an awful lot like you've rented to a bunch of students who found their roommates through a public posting on a college board or the internet and now don't like the decision they've made.  These barely-adults are asking daddy landlord to fix it.

If they're all on a single lease and you have a joint & several liability clause (it may be implied anyway) tell A&B that your only option is to evict them all and A&B will also be liable for the eviction process (and any lost rents if they bail).  This is what they signed.

Chances are you will get a phone call next week with someone moving out and a new roommate found.  Charge them a processing fee for the assignment and move on.  If A&B simply leave and C&D are left with the whole rent, you will quickly see who is responsible and who is not.

We get these frequently including a phone call I once got: "I don't like my roommate.  Can you evict her?"  Don't get involved in domestic disputes which is what this is.  If it were a fight over which shelf space roommates get in the refrigerator, what would you do?  Treat this similarly.

If you insist on getting involved, as @Marcia Maynard  said, use a Comply or Quit and name all tenants on the notice.  Pay the extra bucks to have a sheriff serve it.


@Taylor Chiu  

100% onboard with the above advice and @William Hochstedler  is dead on.  They all signed the lease (or should have) so hold them each 100% accountable.  

A Comply or Quit is a must in this situation.  If an eviction is necessary, this would of been your first step anyway.  Do not hesitate to serve them, you can choose to back down if needed. On that note, make sure either a Sheriff serves,  have them sign the document and retain a copy, or send them the notice through certified mail...  Depending on your state, you may be able to post notice on their front door (snap an image that you did so if applicable).

If you've never done an eviction, speak with a landlord/tenant attorney.  You need one in your contacts list anyways, so if you don't have one its a good time to find one.

There is some process in UT for posting the notices and then completing the eviction.  If you mess up any step you will have to start over.  Eventually you will have to appear in court, if it comes to that.  The judge will have to decide if you have grounds for eviction.  That may mean your other tenants will have to come testify.  Or you may need police reports.  This is where your attorney can advise you about what to expect and what evidence you will need to evict based on what the other tenants are saying.  

I have no idea if it will stick or not.  This is exactly the reason I do only month to month leases.  If I don't like what the tenants are doing I terminate the lease.  If they don't leave that's a much simpler eviction than hearsay from other tenants or neighbors.

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