Tenants can be evicted

Published 5:53 pm Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dear Lawyer Mark: I rent out several houses in town and I usually don’t have any major problems with my tenants. They don’t always pay their rent on time, but that is the most serious problem I’ve had until recently. Now I suspect that one of my tenants is using and selling drugs out of the house. There are always a bunch of characters over there who just go in and out. I even smelled marijuana smoke when I was over to collect rent. Can I get him evicted for this? —IRONTON LANDLORD

Dear Landlord: The answer to your question is yes, you may evict him pursuant to Oho Revised Code Section 1923.02 (A) (6). This statute provides for an eviction, which is called a forcible entry and detainer action by lawyers, when you have actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the tenant had been violating any drug offense law.

The law further provides that the landlord must give notice to the tenant. The landlord is required to give notice to the tenant at least three days prior to the filing of the forcible entry and detainer action. This three-day notice requirement does not include the day it is served or weekends. Thus, if you serve notice on the tenant on a Friday, you may not file the action until Wednesday.

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There is another avenue by which you may evict him. If the alleged drug activity is bothering the neighbors, you may be able to evict the tenants through ORC Section 5321.05(A)(8). This statute prohibits activities that disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of their premises.

I would also recommend that you include a clause in your lease agreement that prohibits illegal conduct on the premises. This will provide you with additional protection in evicting a tenant who is using drugs or engaging in any other illegal activity on the premises. In addition, it will give notice to any prospective tenants that you will not tolerate drug abuse on your property. As with all legal matters, I recommend that you talk to an attorney about the specific facts of your situation.

Thought for the week: “Consider howhard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have trying to change others.” — Arnold Glasow