How to Handle Illegal Substance Use as a Landlord

Illegal Substances

When you decide to begin renting your property, you must contend with a few risks. While the risks can be low, you run the chance of having some bad tenants throughout your time as a landlord. 

If you are renting property and have people living in one or multiple of the homes that you own, there is always a chance that your tenants will be using, selling or producing illegal substances. Since no landlord would want this type of situation in their home, how do you proactively avoid this issue? And how do you spot it if it is already happening?

Using Rent Reporting as a Proactive Deterrent

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” This is true, especially when it comes to illegal substances on your property. They tend to come with other factors, equally as unwelcome as the substances themselves.

So how does using a system to report rent to a credit bureau help this situation? 

  • If you are using a system of credit reporting or rent reporting, your tenants will know this in the screening process before they move in. The act of rent reporting is beneficial for both the landlord and the tenant because the tenants have a way to improve their credit score and the landlord has a screening tool that can weed out those that don’t plan on paying their rent on time.

Other Deterrents to Illegal Substances on Your Property

  • You can make it known in the interview process, as well as the rental agreement, that illegal substance use and selling or producing illegal substances, is strictly forbidden and the rental agreement will be terminated instantly if these activities are found to be happening on the premises. Let them know that home inspections, as well other methods, are used to ensure this is not happening.

How Can You Spot Illegal Substances on Your Property?

Even the best proactive measures don’t work every time. For some, the idea of being late on rent due to illegal substance abuse and having that late payment reported to a credit reporting service isn’t all that bad. They may not care at all if they have a landlord report rent payments that are late or missing. You may still find illegal substances on your property.

How do you know if they’re there? Many clues will give it away.

  • Scents. Illegal substances are often easily detected through their scent. If you notice any odd or unfamiliar smells during an inspection or visit, ask questions and find out what they are.
  • Utility Bills. Making illegal substances uses a lot of power. If you notice extremely high utility bills, make sure you are figuring out what is going on.
  • Late Night/ Frequent Visitors. Illegal substances and the activities that surround them normally take place at night. If there is a lot of activity in and around your property at late in the evening, it may be related to illegal substances.
  • Late/ Missing Rent Payments. Illegal substances tend to take over people’s lives if they are left unchecked and they can run into financial problems. This will lead to late and missed rent. If this is the case, be sure to ask the right questions to find out if there are illegal substances involved.

If there are illegal substances on your property, make sure to take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your neighbors and your property investment.

  • Talk to your tenants and tell them to stop.
  • Inform the police.
  • Prepare eviction proceedings if necessary
  • Document all your interactions with the tenants thoroughly. 

Ideally, you wouldn’t get to this point. If you can screen out the bad tenants before they move in, you can avoid all the trouble. Using a company like to make rent reporting part of your rental agreements will help you keep only the best tenants. Rent reporting is a great way to add benefits to both your renters and you. Reach out to to see how you can start rent reporting today!

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