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Can you kick out a tenant for using drugs on the property?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2021 | Real Estate Litigation

If you are a California property owner, you already know that tenants’ rights are strong in our state. But that by no means leaves property owners without options when dealing with their tenants.

One situation that you could, unfortunately, have to face involves a tenant whom you suspect of illegal drug usage, sales or manufacturing. This certainly is not the type of tenant you want to attract, as their mere presence on your property can drop its value significantly should a drug-related incident occur on your premises.

What steps you can take if you suspect the presence of illegal drugs

Documentation is key, whether you are building a case to simply evict the problem tenant or for the police to pursue further. Since an active meth lab on your property could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in decontamination costs of multiple units or an entire building, you need to act swiftly.

Remember: Never act without clear information. The odd chemical odors emanating from a unit in your apartment building could have a legitimate and legal source. Barging into a tenant’s unit without warning could leave you open to civil claims from your tenant. However, it is within the realm of possibility for the building manager to inquire as to the source of an odor based on tenant complaints.

Play it by the book when evicting a tenant for criminal activity

Since anyone involved in illegal drug activity is by definition a criminal, you don’t want to place yourself at any risk of retaliation or violence. Understanding and managing the risk involved in getting rid of dangerous tenants can best be handled by professionals in the industry.