Did Landlord Waive the Right to Evict Tenants?

by Chris on April 30, 2012

A judge in Athens, Ohio will decide whether a landlord can boot several tenants from his property for drug offenses.

The tenants, who are students, paid rent for the academic quarter. Later, police allegedly discovered illegal drugs on the property. Other alleged infractions include getting a dog, causing property damage, and starting a fire, according to a news report.

The landlord claims that the drug violations prompted his filing an eviction against all of the tenants.

But the lawyer for the tenant argues that the landlord lost his right to evict the tenants — for any reason, once he accepted payment in advance. He contends that those tenants are legally allowed to stay at least for the term of those advance payments, according to the report.  The tenants have contested the eviction, prompting a trial and delaying any subsequent eviction order.

The landlord says he had no choice under the law — he has a duty to evict the tenants due to the drug possession charge.  However, he did hold up depositing two of the rent checks, although his lawyer insists that depositing them would not mean he is waiving the right to eviction under these circumstances, according to the report.

The landlord indicates he has witnesses who can prove that marijuana use at the property is ongoing, and claims the tenants have caused thousands of dollars of damage while waiting for the disputed eviction case to come up on the court’s calendar. The tenants deny those charges.

The property, which was rented for use as a fraternity house, is located only a few yards away from a police station, according to the report.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Randal Miller May 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

I’m doubtful that, that defense would fly. Prepaid or not, the agreement is predicated on compliance with, among other things, a code of conduct. The tenants could be entitled to the portion of monies paid for the balance of the lease. But merely accepting payment in advance for a rental property does not translate into a free for all. It’s ridiculous that a gesture of good faith (paying in advance) can be twisted to mean “now we can do anything we want, ’cause we paid you.”

chris May 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

How is this not a slam dunk? shouldn’t the tenants already be in jail? how can illegal drug use even be open for discussion? Maybe i’m missing something?

Dan May 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I have a clause in my lease that state this type of conduct is cause for termination of the lease. Why would it matter that they paid for only the current month or the next three? Maybe I’m missing something. I’m always amazed at how our legal system is slanted in the tenants favor regardless of what they may be doing. Good pre-screening helps eliminate much of this.

Scott May 3, 2012 at 3:30 am

OK this make no sense…Now go read this article about how the cops want to blame the landlords for tennants that break the law. Compare the two articles. Am I missing something or are us landlords dumber than we look?

http://www.landlordtalking.com/tips/tenant-screening/landlords-face-500-fines-if-tenants-commit-crimes/comment-page-1/#comment-4600

Scott May 3, 2012 at 3:31 am

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