Eviction for Criminal Drug Activity

On April 29, 2014, in Criminal, Landlord-Tenant, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Eviction of a tenant for criminal drug activity

A very interesting decision came down on April 11, 2014 regarding the eviction of a tenant for criminal drug activity.  The Appellate Term ruled that in order to evict a tenant for criminal drug activity, the tenant’s possession of illegal drugs is not enough.  The landlord must also be able to prove the tenant’s intent was to use the drugs in a criminal manner.  The crime of possession is not insufficient for this purpose, Los Tres Unidos Associates, LP v. Angel Mercado, “John Doe” and/or “Jane Doe” 2014 WL 1408540.

This is important for landlords to understand.  A distinction must be made between the landlord’s knowledge of a tenant’s possession drugs and a tenant selling drugs or using drugs in a manner that is considered a criminal drug activity.  This may save a landlord the time and money for bringing a Holdover Proceeding that cannot succeed.  If you insist on moving forward with such a Holdover Proceeding, be ready to prove the tenant’s intent to engage in criminal activity with regards to the drugs.

As always, if you have questions about evicting a tenant, call (516) 858-2620 to speak to a landlord tenant attorney that can assist you!

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