Letter from city regarding drugs activities

I have a property in Philly, PA that is currently rented by a single mother and her mom. I just received a letter today from the City of Philadelphia stating there’s an investigation regarding illegal drug activites. I called the tenant and she stated the cops came and arrested her cousin who happened to be visiting. They found something on him (not even sure what type of drugs), but they took him away and that was it.

I would like to believe her, but I’ll find out on Monday. I figure if they found drugs within the house they would’ve arrested her and took her 2 kids but they didnt. I’m freaking out since it states they could take my property, but I’m hoping it’s nothing too serious. It does state in the letter that if they can prove drug activities do happen within the premises, then they can take the house from me.

Yes it is possible for the gov’t to take away your house if they could prove that drug dealings took place but often I think they fine the homeowners— here’s a story that I’ve found in the past :

In the summer of 2000, state police discovered 517
marijuana plants growing in an isolated hollow in eastern Kentucky, unbeknownst to the property owners, Dale and Diedre Hall.

Authorities suspected the family, based on a tip from a drug informant. According to the Hall’s family lawyer, police were unable to get enough evidence to make an arrest, let alone to secure an indictment or a conviction. Nevertheless, the Halls owe the state a little more than $1 million under a 1994 law that taxes marijuana dealers $1,000 a plant and penalizes those who do not pay the tax before they are caught. The law, upheld by the Kentucky Supreme Court, was modeled on statutes in other states that has passed muster with the US Supreme Court. The law has brought in close to $300,000 in revenue, at least some of which came from drug dealers who made confidential payments to the state.

The tax assessment does not require a conviction. The law is enacted when police report on the seizure or discovery of illegal drugs, which they are required to do within 72 hours. The Hall’s lawyer said the tax blocks his client access to the judicial system, challenging the provision of the law that requires suspected dealers to post a bond equal to the amount owed before they can file a protest.

The area where the Hall’s reside is located in coal country near the Kentucky-West Virginia border. The depressed coal industry has left many out-of-work coal miners to fend for themselves. Usually they do it through the cash crop of marijuana grown on parkland or, in the Hall’s case, private property. According to an article by APB News, the 1994 law requires marijuana growers and dealers to buy tax stamps at the rate of $3.50 per gram or $1,000 per plant. While the process is confidential and payment of taxes cannot be used as evidence in a criminal case, the civil penalties are added to any criminal ones once someone is caught, along with an additional penalty for failure to pay, said state Rep. Charles Geveden. “It’s not a ruse or an attempt to legalize marijuana,” said Geveden, a Democrat from Wickliffe, in western Kentucky, who was one of the law’s sponsors. “What it does is it creates a monetary penalty as well as the criminal penalty.”

I’m not sure if this story really applies to you but you get the point

I have seen houses that were closed down by the authorities due to drug activity here in NYC. I know the owner had to go through some procedures to be allowed to rent out her property again but I believe if you rent out a second time to drug dealers they then confiscate your property. If you yourself are the drug dealer I believe the government confiscates all your property under the assumption that it was aquired with drug money.
Most times you can spot drug activity and if you suspect it you should take precautions and evict the tenant. Also if you go to the police early on they don’t penalize you for this activity. An eight unit property I managed had a tenant like that I called the local precinct and they helped us evict them.
Oh yeah thetony thanks for sharing that story because I didn’t know about that.

Your welcome… ;D

Yes, it is possible that the City coule seize your property. As a professional business owner, I’m sure that you are a member of your local REIA. Call some of the more experienced landlords in your REIA and find out what normally happens locally.

You can NOT evict someone because you suspect drug activity. As in any legal proceeding, your suspicions will not count for anything with the judge or magistrate. In fact, even getting a letter from the police saying that they suspect that the house is a drug house probably won’t allow you to evict. If the tenants have a lease, then you’ll have to prove that they’ve violated the lease or that they are drug dealers. If the police have raided your property and found drugs in the premises or on your tenant, then you can probably evict them - check with your lawyer and other local REIA members.

This is a perfect example of why landlords should be very hands-on. Drive by the property from time to time and walk through every apartment every month. I do this when I pick up the rent each month. I takes 2 minutes and you get an idea of what’s going on with YOUR property.

If you suspect drug activity in your apartment or house, ask the tenant to move. If they won’t voluntarily leave, contact the police and work to get them busted.

Finally, only sign month-to-month leases with low income tenants. Then, if you don’t like what they’re doing, you can give then a 30-day notice and get them out.

This drug situation could have serious ramifications. I would not use free internet suggestions as a basis for your response. YOU NEED TO TALK TO A GOOD REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY ASAP.

Good Luck,


Eany, Meany, Miny, Mo
Of What I Speak, I May Not Know
I’m Not a Lawyer, Nor Want to Be
And This is NOT Advice from Me

Well of course! thats a given.

I wouldn’t expect anyone to use any kind of free information that wasn’t from a legal expert in this situation. We just told him of things that we knew that had happened in similar situations. FYI in NYC the judge does take into consideration that the tenants are using the property for illegal activities and the fact that the police was involved because I got them involved also helped get them out.

are you allowed as landlord to enter the premise each and every month to check on the property, and what 's going on inside ?
All responses appreciated.

Yes, you can enter the premises each and every month to inspect the property. My lease contains a provision that says the landlord can “enter the property upon reasonable notice and at reasonable times to inspect the property or to conduct repairs”. I tell the tenants before we sign the lease that we inspect the property every month when we pick up the rent. Just that simple.


Quit Claim the property to someone and let them take it over sub-2 then it is there problem!! LOL Just kidding!

Did you do a background check before you let them move in?

If so where there any priors?

I would be concerned if it’s a meth lab you might have to pay for the clean up pretty expensive.

Here in NYC the govt use to seize entire blocks because of drug dealing. Unfortunately, half the time the landlord is aware and even involved in the illegal activities…

Thats a totally different situation, I am referring to landlords that have nothing to do with any drug activity that was occurring on or around their property.

I know…