What to Do if Tenant Is Doing Illegal Activities?

As a landlord, one of your primary responsibilities is to provide a safe and lawful environment for your tenants. However, what should you do if you suspect that one of your tenants is engaging in illegal activities on your rental property? It’s a challenging situation that can put you in a difficult position, but it’s crucial to address it while staying in compliance with US fair housing laws.

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In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps you should take if you find yourself facing this situation.

Things You Should Do if a Tenant Is Doing Illegal Activities:

  1. Recognize the signs and gather evidence

Always keep an eye on how your tenants are living, and if you notice anything fishy, confirm it right away. If you suspect that a tenant is involved in illegal activities, it’s important to gather concrete evidence to support your claims. This evidence may include photographs, witness statements, police reports, or any other relevant documentation. Be sure to respect your tenant’s privacy and adhere to all applicable laws when collecting evidence. So, how you can recognize the signs if your tenant is doing some illegal activities? Here is how:

  • Unusual traffic or frequent visitors at odd hours
  • Strong odors or suspicious noises
  • Excessive noise or disturbances
  • Visible drug paraphernalia or evidence of drug use

If you notice any of these signs, it is crucial to gather evidence discreetly without confronting the tenant directly.

  1. Consult with Legal Counsel

Before taking any direct action, consult with legal counsel or an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law. They can provide guidance on the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction and help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

  1. Review the Lease Agreement

Review the lease agreement you have with the tenant. Most lease agreements include clauses that prohibit illegal activities on the property. If you find clear violations, you may be able to initiate eviction proceedings based on the breach of the lease agreement.

  1. Document Violations

Keep detailed records of any violations or disturbances related to the tenant’s illegal activities. This documentation will be valuable if you need to pursue legal action. Ensure that you are thorough, accurate, and unbiased in your record-keeping.

  1. Contact Law Enforcement

If the illegal activities pose an immediate threat to the safety of other tenants or the property itself, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency. It’s crucial to let the professionals handle potentially dangerous situations.

  1. Provide Notice

Depending on your jurisdiction and the severity of the situation, you may need to provide the tenant with written notice of their violation of the lease agreement and give them an opportunity to cure it. Consult with your attorney to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

  1. Initiate Legal Action

If the tenant does not remedy the situation, you may need to initiate eviction proceedings. Again, consult with your attorney to ensure that you follow the correct legal process, as eviction laws can vary from state to state.

  1. Respect Tenant Privacy

Throughout the process, be mindful of the tenant’s privacy rights. Do not engage in any actions that could be considered harassment or discrimination. Focus on addressing the illegal activities while respecting the tenant’s lawful rights.

  1. Stay Informed

Keep yourself informed about any changes in fair housing laws and landlord-tenant regulations. Laws can change, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date to ensure that your actions remain in compliance with the law.


Dealing with a tenant involved in illegal activities is a complex and sensitive matter. It’s crucial to navigate this situation carefully, ensuring that your actions are in compliance with US fair housing laws. Consult with legal counsel, gather evidence, follow the lease agreement, and respect the tenant’s rights and privacy throughout the process. By taking these steps, you can address the issue while minimizing legal risks and ensuring fairness and compliance with the law. If you want to learn more about Fair Housing Laws and compliance then explore our website to get the free training webinars.

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