Tenant Smoking Marijuana In Apartment

73 Replies

I have 3 young lads who are renting one of my apartments (a 2 unit multifamily) I will use names as Mr A, Mr B and Mr C. Mr A is signatory to the lease but on the lease is states that MR B and Mr C will also be living in the apartment. On the lease it states no smoking on the property. On Thursday i got a call from the fire department that the shed on the property was destroyed by fire. The information i got from Mr C was that there were kids on the property and neighbors called the police on them and after the time he got back he saw police and the fire department trying to quench a fire. I immediately called the other tenant (Miss B and a 10yr old daughter) and the information i got from her was that these gentlemen smoke and sell marijuana to those kids.

 I also was able to get pictures from Mr B social media account smoking on the enclosed porch of the apartment, which i saved to my phone. My question is can i use these images in eviction court or any court as evidence. Thank You and happy holidays 

Originally posted by @Enyi Ajoku :

I have 3 young lads who are renting one of my apartments (a 2 unit multifamily) I will use names as Mr A, Mr B and Mr C. Mr A  is signatory to the lease but on the lease is states that MR B and Mr C will also be living in the apartment. On the lease it states no smoking on the property. On Thursday i got a call from the fire department that the shed on the property was destroyed by fire. The information i got from Mr C was that there were kids on the property and neighbors called the police on them and after the time he got back he saw police and the fire department trying to quench a fire. I immediately called the other tenant (Miss B and a 10yr old daughter) and the information i got from her was that these gentlemen smoke and sell marijuana to those kids.

 I also was able to get pictures from Mr B social media account smoking on the enclosed porch of the apartment, which i saved to my phone. My question is can i use these images in eviction court or any court as evidence. Thank You and happy holidays 

My man I suspect you are going to be in for a rough rough ride. These aren't the 1st tenants of yours who smoke weed & they certainly won't be the last. If the Police determine that illegal drug activity is going on at the property they will typically let you know. The city will actually force you to evict tenants who've been proven to be doing that type of stuff & as a landlord it would be required by law for you to act.

Outside of that though you aren't a cop or detective. Don't get involved in that nonsense. Stop snooping through their Facebook pages. Your job is to collect rent. Collect the rent. Nothing more & nothing less. Otherwise you'll be evicting people every 3 weeks & you'll be running around doing a bunch of nonsense that doesn't pay your bills. Rent pays your bills. Collect the rent. 

@Enyi Ajoku

From the perspective of a long-term landlord in Denver Metro area, were I presented with this particular issue, I would do the following:

1. Protect the anonymity of tenant #2 (Miss B and a 10yr old daughter).

2. Let the inevitable investigation by Police and Fire reveal what it will, then react as needed concerning the property damage and illegal activity (if any) that becomes evidence.

3. Do a property inspection right away, or within the notice guidelines stipulated in your lease.

4. If you find any infractions after performing item 3, such as obvious evidence (smell or other) of smoking of any kind, start the eviction process according to your own lease terms, with careful attention to landlord/tenant law in your state.

5. Modify your lease as needed for future tenants and move on.

I agree with @James Wise that, as landlords, we are not investigators, but as property owners, we need to be diligent and involved to protect ourselves.

Best of luck to you.

Originally posted by @Enyi Ajoku :

Thank you for your feedback. Should I inform the police that these tenants smoke on the property.

 No. You should collect their rent unless otherwise told not to by the proper authorities. 

If you want to fight crime, become a police officer. If you want to be a landlord, collect the rent.

If you have a no smoking policy does it state the ENTIRE property or just inside? My leases state no smoking or vaping  of any material on the property. 

If they were smoking in a designated non smoking area you need to follow your lease and local laws in giving notice to stop etc. 

If this were me, i would contact my atty to get the exact steps to take to protect me from the tenant. 

Originally posted by @Mary M. :

If you have a no smoking policy does it state the ENTIRE property or just inside? My leases state no smoking or vaping  of any material on the property. 

If they were smoking in a designated non smoking area you need to follow your lease and local laws in giving notice to stop etc. 

If this were me, i would contact my atty to get the exact steps to take to protect me from the tenant. 

 The math doesn't pencil out on that strategy. You will spend more money on evictions & legal battles trying to fight this with this tenant & all other tenants going forward then just letting it go. If the juice isn't worth the squeeze do not squeeze. You've got to pick your battles in this business. This is definitely not one of them.

I dont allow smoking on my property. Luckily, my tenants are solid citizens for the most part and follow the “rules” .   

Would i evict if a tenant refused to stop smoking?  Yes.  But I also own rentals that are in high demand due to location (U of U and top rated HS in Oregon is right across the street) ...

I am careful in the battles I take on, but smoking inside is something I wont tolerate. Obviously others have different things that are important to them and that is fine :) we can all landlord as we see fit

Also want to add- in my experience in general if i discuss with tenant they stop doing whatever it was they were doing. So i would not expect to have to actually evict anyone. It would be having a discussion, posting notices if need be, then asking if they would like to be released from their lease. 

But again, i have higher end rentals. So my tenant quality is high. 

As suggested first do a inspection of the property. If you have a no smoking clause you have only two options either enforce it or remove it from your lease.

Your inspection will hopefully assure you there is no smoking or there is and you send out a cure or quite notice. If that is the case you will need to do regular inspections to insure they are adhering to their lease. If you suspect but can not prove smoking you should probably non renew when their lease is up. For landlords with clauses like no smoking it is best to only use M2M leases.

If you have a C/D property inforcing a no smoking clause is a waste of effort and it is best you simply remove it from your lease. 

Originally posted by @Mary M. :

I dont allow smoking on my property. Luckily, my tenants are solid citizens for the most part and follow the “rules” .   

Would i evict if a tenant refused to stop smoking?  Yes.  But I also own rentals that are in high demand due to location (U of U and top rated HS in Oregon is right across the street) ...

I am careful in the battles I take on, but smoking inside is something I wont tolerate. Obviously others have different things that are important to them and that is fine :) we can all landlord as we see fit

 Don't think that your experience with a high end tenant base who's renting your place due to the demand of the great school system is applicable here. The O.P. has 3 young stoners living in a duplex, who may or may not be selling weed to the neighborhood kids. Apples to Oranges. 

As James states it depends entirely on your market. Generally If you rent to some one who smokes they are not going to abide by a lease that says no smoking. If it is lower class then tenants view a lease as a flexible guide line to be followed at the discursion of the tenant.

The landlord must determine how important lease  causes are and remove those that are too costly to enforce.

@Enyi Ajoku Have an outdoor security camera system set up on the outside front & back of the property, as well as additional lighting. Notify all of the tenants, and let them know that you are concerned for their safety. Good tenants will be thankful, bad tenants will become paranoid and more than likely move.
Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

As James states it depends entirely on your market. Generally If you rent to some one who smokes they are not going to abide by a lease that says no smoking. If it is lower class then tenants view a lease as a flexible guide line to be followed at the discursion of the tenant.

The landlord must determine how important lease  causes are and remove those that are too costly to enforce.

 Lol are we sure they view it as a flexible guide? That'd require them to read the whole thing 1st.

The quality of your tenant is really important for the profitability/sustainability of your business. Tenants who don't respect your rules will destroy your asset, waste your time, kill your cashflow and diminish the value of your property.

Only collecting rent is not enough. If you inherited the tenants, then it is important to understand how to move forward with them. 

How much time left, until their lease expires?

You don't have to renew their leases. You need to start advertising the property and lining up potential tenants.

Learn lessons from this and make sure to update your rules and regulations, your processes, ... etc going forward, so you can de-risk these types of situations earlier and better in the future. As was mentioned earlier, review the length of your leases. Review your rules and regulations. Visit the property often and enforce rules more strictly. Being a successful landlord is not a passive activity. It requires your oversight. 

Originally posted by @Jay L. :

Just came to say that my partner and I are getting a kick out of reading @James Wise's replies.  

 🤣 I like to keep it real around here.

@Enyi Ajoku

Not sure what your lease states

1. but In Colorado I have a no smoking addendum which states “no smoking in or around premises including but not limited to cigarettes, hookah, incense, marijuana, etc. any evidence of such are grounds for immediate eviction, loss of held funds and liability for damages.

2. Hopefully you required all tenants to maintain insurance providing you with a copy of the policy

3. In the future you may want to consider ensuring all occupants are on the lease.

@Enyi Ajoku

I had a tenant with an 18 year old son. I was working in the duplex unit next door and the kid had a dozen 5 minute visitors.

Now back in the day I knew folks I could visit for five minutes. They were selling weed. I’m not stupid.

I sat down the street and recorded it on camera. I showed the video to his dad. His dad put a stop to the idiocy.

Smoking weed, mind your own business. Selling weed? That is your business. A landlord in Chillicothe Ohio lost her house as a public nuisance due to her tenant selling drugs out of her house.

@Mary M. I bet someone smokes in your rentals guarantee it! I dont think any of us really try to rent to dirt bags. The problem is that we are not there and people do things. I dont advertise smoke weed in my apartments I dont care! I also have about 200 units and driving by every unit or stalking their Facebook is not my top priority, If something comes up or during an inspection we see something we will address it. By the way rich people with good jobs that live in expensive houses smoke weed and do drugs.

No smoking is no smoking, enforce the rule the same as if they were smoking cigarettes. 

IF the police investigate and find illegal activity, that's grounds for eviction. I understand that youre not exactly opposed to people smoking pot, but you do not want it done on your property - for exactly the reason you're posting - your shed burned down and it could have been worse. And you don't want drug sales to occur on your property. I don't agree that it's just your job to collect rent and I doubt anyone here would agree either if their property were at risk. Ask yourself, if it came to it and you evicted these guys, would tenants just like them replace the outgoing? Are these D rentals? Accidents happen, even stupid accidents, but are these complete degenerates that you feel are a super high risk?