If you are a landlord and you have suspicions that your tenant is abusing drugs or alcohol, you likely have a number of legitimate concerns. For landlords, addiction can be a costly concern. Many landlords want to immediately evict tenants with addictions because they fear that they will fall behind on rent or damage the property through illegal activity. However, seasoned property managers in Philadelphia know that addiction is considered a disease under the federal Fair Housing Act, making it illegal to evict a tenant solely on the presence of a current or former addiction.
If you suspect your tenant of abusing drugs or alcohol, do not act impulsively — you may end up violating your tenant’s rights, leaving you at risk of being fined or worse. The first thing you need to do if you have suspicions of substance abuse is to document everything that you find troubling. Some common symptoms of addiction in tenants can include ignored phone calls and attempts at communication from the landlord, neglect of property, and multiple missed rent and utility payments. Never rely on gossip for your information; instead, look at the patterns of behavior that your tenant exhibits.
If your tenant’s behavior still suggests that they are abusing drugs or alcohol on your property, schedule a visit to inspect the property and look for damage. Remember that your tenants have the “right to quiet enjoyment,” meaning that you must schedule a visit at least 24 hours in advance with written notice. You should also remember that anti-discrimination laws do not cover behavior that is illegal. A tenant that is using cocaine on your property and one whose drinking habits you don’t personally approve of are two very separate cases.
Before you say “rent my home in South Philly,” you should take the time to consult with a property management company that can protect your investment. DJCRE Property Management can help you find tenants who will respect your space. Give us a call today at 215-720-1097 to get started!