Pot Smoking Tenants: Ignore or Evict?

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on May 28, 2011 under Eviction, Lease and Rental Agreements | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant prescreening, tenant background checkThe Chicago Housing Authority is proposing a new rule that all adult tenants will need to be drug tested, and if they test positive, eviction proceedings will begin. While some private landlords would welcome the opportunity to test and then evict illegal drug users, more have to deal with tenants who smoke pot.

If you’ve noticed the distinctive smell of marijuana wafting out of your rental properties, how did you handle it? Some might think that smoking pot is as harmless as drinking a beer, but it’s still illegal. And if you’re ignoring a tenant’s drug use, you could be putting your business at risk.

Did you know that illegal drug use by tenants in your rental units could subject you to related property damage and personal injury suffered by other tenants or the public? Is it worth it to you?

Your best move as a landlord is to include a clause in your lease agreement that tenants agree to not violate any applicable laws, including the possession, use or sale of illegal drugs. If and when a tenant violates the lease by choosing to smoke marijuana, you have the grounds to evict.

Some landlords might think evicting over pot smoking is overkill. But allowing it can leave you open to litigation; the potential for harm is just too great. Besides, if you can smell marijuana, your other tenants probably can, too. What message are you sending if you fail to enforce the law, as well as the terms of your lease agreement?

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