How to evict a drug dealing tenant?

Hello all,

I have a tenant that is dealing drugs from their home. There’s always cars and people coming in and out of the home and the people coming in and out of the home you can tell are on meth or heroin. But the only thing is we don’t have video or photo evidence of the drug dealing and exchange of money and drugs. Plus the local police know the tenant (they’re friends). The police won’t do anything.

So how do we evict them?

VERY CAREFULLY!

Don’t push the drug narrative as that can get you sued for libel and slander in today’s politically charged America. You don’t need to gather photo evidence and put yourself in harm’s way for even attempting to do that. So stop all efforts on that front.

As a landlord you have two potential rights to solve this issue: 1) non-renewal of lease and 2) rules violation and resulting cancellation of lease due to that fact. Personally, I would get an attorney involved in any case like this and would not even begin the process until I talked to the state MHA and have a firm handle on the laws and options. Even then – on non-renewal of lease – there are many potential landmines that would make using an attorney essential.

But there’s also another issue to address. Are you 100% sure you’re getting factual information here? We have found that, over the years, it’s not uncommon for a neighbor to call management claiming that someone is dealing drugs because they just hate that person and want them driven out of the park. If the police have no interest in this case, it may just be that there’s no case. On more than one occasion, the supposed “drug dealer” is actually just somebody who has lots of friends and family that stops by. Before even thinking about non-renewal of lease (if that right is open to you) I would step back and gather facts and see what’s really going on. If you non-renew the lease of a perfectly good, paying tenant it will cost you $5,000+ to replace them, and the person making the complaint has no skin in the game at all.

I once had a resident come into the office to claim a neighbor had kidnapped their daughter and demanded they be immediately thrown out of the park. I told them “if they kidnapped your daughter, why haven’t you called the police?” to which they said “I did, but the police didn’t do anything”. I told them that kidnapping is a serious accusation and I was not going to even think about this issue until I saw a written police report. Never saw the resident again. Later on I heard that the neighbor in question had been dating the daughter and the father hated them and wanted them out of the community.

Bottom line is that there are many personal narratives going on in the park at all times and you don’t want to get sucked into them. If a resident is paying rent and following the rules, then your job as owner is fulfilled. You are NOT a police department. Leave law enforcement to folks in that line of work.

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Hi Frank, thanks for the great input! I think what I’ll do is just non-renew them. I don’t need to have a reason behind non-renewing someone right? At the end of their lease I can just say “Your lease is up and I don’t want to renew you and you must vacate the property?”

-Gulliver

Yes, that’s right but if you’re right about the relationship with the police you will have to tread carefully to enforce an eviction (“writ of possession”). Who’s going to enforce that and what will the consequences be?

As Frank said, it is more likely that your facts are not 100% correct than that the police department is really so corrupt. But, it is possible. See what you can find out.

Personally, I would determine a way to collect the evidence of the complaint / problem. Perhaps a couple of samples of 1 hour of video or snapshot photos for example showing more than 3 cars coming and leaving or something. But maybe not, it depends on the situation. Nonrenewal might be faster than trying to get legal court-level proof.

Brandon, can a tenant object to a non renewal? For example: they say “no, we are going to stay here. We have done nothing wrong.”

This depends on your state. In some states tenants have a “Right to Renewal.” If that is true in your state then you will need to evict on the basis of some violation of the lease. The judge will hear your case and you need to be the one in the “white hat.” Consider this in your approach to your tenants. You can put whatever reasonable terms into a renewed lease, however, so the claim “I want to stay” will only work if they and you agree what the reasonable terms are going to be. Or a judge will decide what’s reasonable.

Any time there is a high volume of people coming and going from a home, it’s very disruptive to the neighborhood , and a possible “business.” Home business is banned on leases…and any business - be it hair styling, car repair, dressmaking, or even ongoing garage/estate sales- whatever…would be reasonable grounds for non renewable lease.

So with pointing fingers, or putting a name on the “ business” you can just say that all the people coming to and from the home is disruptive and appears to be some sort of business, which is not allowed by the terms of the lease.

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Good point! I actually have in my rules and regs any traffic from automobiles that constantly come in and out of a home is not allowed. So I can use that to evict them right?

In my jurisdiction evictions are rarely successful. As a result when I had a suspected drug issue I sent out a notice to all residents that I was setting up security cameras to record all activity in the community. I spoke to the individual and informed him I suspected he was dealing and would be providing the police with the security footage. His customers obviously did not want to be recorded and he moved out.

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