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Is Your Income Property a Drug House?

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Back in 2007, I had nightmare tenants living in the 4-bedroom side of one of my duplexes.  These people were bad news: they didn’t pay the rent, they loudly fought with each other day and night, and they tried to sneak in a dog without my permission.  Worst of all, they were operating a drug dealing operation from the apartment.  And these people only lived there for 4 months before I had them evicted!

At the time, I didn’t realize my income property was doubling as a drug house until after the fact.  If you were in the same situation, would you know?  If not, you might want to start educating yourself regarding what to look for because certain illegal drug activities – like growing weed – are becoming more and more prevalent in residential rental properties.  Plus, these illegal activities promote property damage, and can even land the landlord in legal hot water (you may have heard the saying: ignorance is not a defense in a court of law).

Some of the signs of drug activity include covered and condensation-soaked windows, foul odors, strange humming or mechanical noises, the presence of plant-growing supplies or debris, and people coming and going at all hours of the night.

In order to spot these signs, it is important to regularly check out the property.  This can include monthly drive-bys as well as periodic interior property inspections.  You could also offer to pick up the rent from time to time.  It’s also a good idea engage in small talk with the neighbors in order to build a rapport with them so they will be more likely to inform you of the presence of any shady activities.  And of course, follow best practices regarding tenant verification to hopefully avoid getting a bad apple in the first place.

The bottom line is that you must keep regular tabs on your properties and tenants to ensure that nothing shady is going on.  And of course, if you do suspect something, do not take matters into your own hands: call the police!

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