Landlords and property managers have the right to enter their properties, with proper notice to their tenants. Whether it’s for routine maintenance work, pest treatments or safety inspections, it’s not only necessary to occasionally enter a tenant’s unit, but it’s a good idea to do so. You need to know what’s going onin your properties.
During these routine inspections, landlords and property managers sometimes see things that tenants don’t intend for you to see, such as:
- Ashtrays, cigarette butts and lighters.
- Pet supplies, like food dishes and litter boxes.
- Drug paraphernalia like pipes, lighters and syringes.
- Illegal drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine.
- Evidence of drug manufacturing.
- Signs of a business being run out of the unit.
What can (and should) you do when this happens? Can you evict the tenant? If the occupant is otherwise a good tenant, should you ignore it? First, it’s always important to be familiar with your state’s laws regarding grounds for eviction. But if any of the activity you have witnessed violates the terms of your lease, you probably do have grounds for eviction.
If you’d rather not go that route, then it’s possible to wait until lease renewal time comes around, and inform the tenant that the lease will not be renewed. Of course, you’ll need to provide proper notice, according to the terms of the lease.
Reasons to Consider Eviction or Non-Renewal of a Lease
- Liability: Landlords can be liable for criminal activity that occurs on their properties—even if they are not aware of it. Landlords can be liable for injuries that occur as a result of illegal activity. Landlords can be liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s pet—even if they are not aware of the pet. Laws vary from state to state, but why take chances?
- Health: Smoking in units where it is not allowed can affect other residents, including children. Second-hand smoke carries chemicals and carcinogens through vents, doorways and windows. In addition, cigarettes are the cause of accidental fires.
- Safety: Each year, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials.
- Fairness: If most tenants follow your rules, such as not running a business out of the rental unit, it’s not fair to make exceptions for someone who ignores the lease. Charges of discrimination could follow.
Strict and equitable enforcement of rental agreements should be every landlord and property manager’s practice. If tenants are conducting illegal or criminal activities or are breaking the terms of their leases, your best move is to get them out and replace them with tenants who will follow the rules and abide by the lease.
And if you need to, amend your lease agreement to include a paragraph prohibiting drugs and other illegal activities on your property.
This article was written by Teresa and originally published on tenantscreeningblog