Drug paraphernalia Doesn't
Qualify as an Automatic Out for Tenant
Robert S. Griswold | Steven R. Kellman | Ted Smith
This column on issues confronting renters and landlords is written
by Counselor of Real Estate and
Certified Property Manager Robert Griswold, host of Real
Estate Today! with Robert Griswold (10 a.m.
Saturdays on AM1130 - KSDO radio, or on the Internet
and by attorneys Steven R. Kellman, director of the
Tenants' Legal Center, and Ted Smith, principal in a law
firm representing landlords.
QUESTION: I'm a landlord. Recently, I checked on a plumbing problem
at a unit I own. I saw what I thought was drug paraphernalia sitting
in the open. Can I kick these tenants out?
ANSWER: Smith: You need to be careful. A fine line exists between
your tenants' right of privacy and your desire to operate a drug- and
crime-free building. You can take some comfort in knowing that
California landlords are not required to prove the existence of drugs
in the rental in order to justify an eviction or other legal
It would be helpful to know exactly what you saw rather than
obliquely describing it as "drug paraphernalia." Still, if
it is a month-to-month tenancy and you wish to kick them out, a 30-day
notice is the notice of choice since you are not required to prove
drugs or any other material violation of the rental agreement. If the
students in this question are on a lease, the eviction will be more
difficult since you will be required to prove some violation of the
lease agreement to justify the eviction.
If you have substantial credible evidence of drug possession and/
or dealing in the premises, you should follow up and take appropriate
action. If you don't, California's drug abatement laws could charge
you with operating a drug house, with resulting fines and, in some
cases, seizure of the premises.
YOU'RE A TENANT OR LANDLORD, the authors stand ready to
answer your questions in this column, although letters
cannot be answered individually. Write them at: Rental
Roundtable, Homes Section, San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O.
Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191. Or you may e-mail
them at email@example.com
2001 Rental Roundtable
Robert Griswold and the Real Estate
Today! radio show strongly support the intent and the letter of all federal and
state fair housing laws. As a reminder to all owners and managers of real
estate, note that all real estate advertised is subject to the Federal Fair
Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference,
limitation, discrimination because of race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex,
physical disability, or familial status, or intention to make any such
preference, limitation or discrimination." Additional state and/or local
fair housing laws may also apply. Be sure to inform all persons that all
dwellings offered or advertised are on an equal opportunity basis.
Revised and Updated -
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Robert S. Griswold, CRE, CPM, CCIM,
PCAM, GRI, ARM
Griswold Corporate Center
Griswold Real Estate Management, Inc.
5703 Oberlin Drive, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121-1743
Phone: (858) 597-6100
Fax: (858) 597-6161
©2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 Robert S. Griswold.
All Rights Reserved.