How do I keep drug dealers out of my rental property?
So how can you keep a drug dealer out of your rental? There are a few tricks you can use to identify and help keep out these unwanted criminals. Renting to drug dealers and criminals can not only lower your property value, but the property value of the surrounding homes as well.
One of the best deterrents is to not accept cash payments for rent. Most of the money a drug dealer earns will stay out of bank accounts because they want the flow of income to be undetectable. Most honest hard working families have a checking account and will pay their rent and security deposit with a personal check from a local bank.
Another great way to determine a drug dealer is to know what to watch for. Be suspicious of an unusually high volume of people and traffic coming to and from the property. A drug dealer will have cars coming and going at all hours of the day and night. These guests typically will not stay long, just long enough to make a drug buy and leave.
It is best to state in the rental agreement that drug dealing or criminal activity is prohibited while in the rental property. Also state that any tenant convicted of criminal acts on the property gives you, the landlord, grounds for eviction. Please bear in mind that the eviction process must be followed to by the book. Certain states have laws in place that make it difficult for the unsuspecting landlord to evict a tenant. In some cases, it is wise to hire a lawyer or law firm to assist you in evicting a problem tenant. An eviction notice must be served and, in most cases, this allows the tenant to come into compliance for a violation of terms of their lease agreement. Know your state and local eviction laws before investing in rental properties.
A great source for information if you suspect drug activity is taking place at your rental property is to ask the neighbors. Ask the neighbors about the visitors your tenants have coming and going from your rental property, whether they come and go at all hours, and the type of people that come and go. If the neighbors suspect drug activity is taking place, most will tell you. Please be aware that some states have passed strict laws regarding drug use. In some states, the use of methamphetamines constitutes the property as being a meth lab. This new law regarding methamhatime use opens up an entirely new can of worms so to speak for rental property owners. The use of methamphetamines has become an epidemic in certain areas of the country. Know what to look for and use caution.
For more information on how to screen tenants read our article, "How to screen for qualified tenants."