When a tenant engages in illegal activity in rental property

When a tenant engages in illegal activity in rental property

Landlords work hard and spend a lot of time making sure their tenants are happy. They will make sure the property is in good shape, take security measures for them, and even have the property manager check in on them as needed. However, finding out that a tenant engaged in illegal activity on the property they are renting can be a very alarming discovery for a landlord. When a landlord makes such a discovery in regard to one of their tenants, it can be essential for the landlord to respond appropriately.

What Qualifies as “Illegal Activity?” in Landlord Tenant Law?

Illegal activity is defined as any criminal acts executed inside the property. This means more than just suspicious activities, but rather a clear violation of the law. One of the most common illegal activities landlords deal with is when their tenants decide to deal drugs. Another is when a tenant, the household members of the tenant, or guests under the tenents control commit an act of physical violence on the property. 

What do I do If I Find Out About Illegal Activity on My Property?

Michigan, landlord-tenant laws are governed by the Michigan Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (RLTA). How a landlord handles the situation after finding out about illegal activity is a slippery slope. Really, illegal activity at a rental property can pose a threat to the safety of all of its tenants. Landlords have an ethical responsibility to protect their tenants. Illegal activity on a rental property can also potentially have significant negative impacts on a property’s reputation and financial well-being. Unfortunately, this is just one common issue that landlords face, and knowing your rights is essential when you find yourself in a similar situation. 

Additionally, some municipalities put special rules in place regarding what landlords are to do when their tenants engage in illegal activity on the rental property. For one, some states require a formal police report to be filed before you evict tenants. Getting law enforcement involved is key in ensuring that although you owned the property, you were not involved in any activities. 

Cities sometimes consider putting extra requirements on landlords when it comes to responding to criminal activity by tenants. Thus, what the specific city ordinances are in the city their rental property is in is among the many things it can be important for landlords to take into account when deciding how to respond after discovering that one of their tenants engaged in illegal activity.

Can I Do a Background Check on my Tenants in Michigan? 

In Michigan, landlords are legally allowed to do background checks on all of their tenants. However, you must first obtain written consent. Some municipalities have different laws on this, so it’s always better to check the local laws before asking. 

What Will a Real Estate Attorney Do to Help?

There are many things that an attorney can help you with when you are faced with this situation. In fact, since law enforcement may be involved, it may be safer to involve an attorney as soon as you find out that illegal activities have taken place. They will give you legal advice according to the terms of your lease agreement, assist you with notice and communication, support you during the eviction process, and work as an intermediary between you and law enforcement. 

Real estate law attorneys can help landlords who have found out that one of their tenants has engaged in illegal activity on the rented property understand what their options and responsibilities are and can help them in their efforts to make the right response to the criminal activity. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, contact us today to discuss what your options are.