Hippies not wanted.
August 14, 2003 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Drug offenders to be evicted. While this law is meant to target methamphetamine labs, it is worded to allow for the eviction of anyone who smokes pot in his home twice in one year, for example.
posted by spazzm (6 comments total)
gotta read that fine print. It has been in every rental contract i've ever seen.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:35 PM on August 14, 2003

Landlords whose tenants pose a nuisance will be asked to void the lease and seek their eviction. Compliant landlords will have the rest of the eviction process completed by the state’s attorney for free.
Yeah so? In a nation where property can be confiscated by the government as part of "drug" charges, this is strictly "cover your ass" for the landlord. The only controversial things is that this is being handed down from the DA.

And on preview, yeah, leases have said something to the effect of "thou shalt not do illegal stuff on my property" for years, it has just been hard to enforce that clause at times.
posted by ilsa at 4:42 PM on August 14, 2003

My aunt and uncle had a meth bust happen in a house that they were renting out to someone. Came as a total shock to them and ended up costing them quite a bit of cash as the state (Oregon) would not let them rent out the house until it had been certified by the state as being drug free. This process costed them several thousand dollers in court and inspector time. I don't think it is unreasonable to give the home owners the power of eviction. It IS their house after all.

This article is about the state being able to evict people, which doesn't make since in that those people are simply going to relocate and continue their activities elsewhere.

The easiest solution to this problem would be to make the drugs LEGAL, but allow for property owners to screen drug use much the same as they currently do for pets. Some places could allow it, and some places wouldn't.

This comes from a guy who has NEVER used an illegal substance.
posted by woil at 4:48 PM on August 14, 2003

the man, holding us down
posted by shadow45 at 8:40 PM on August 14, 2003

I have enough personal experience to have seen Housing Court, including evictions, more or less from both sides. Nuisance laws are commonplace and use much lower standards of evidence as compared with criminal court. Remember, in criminal court, one must be proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt; in civil court, preponderance of the evidence, a much lower standard (and in particular cases legally set even lower) suffices. This is because in civil court, you cannot lose your freedom or your life. This holds true for nuisance prosecutions as well.

Basically, all a nuisance prosecution takes is for a city official to decide that you have a nuisance as defined under various state laws or municipal ordinances, and you can be served with a court summons, given a deadline, given a handful of remedies, and very little recourse. Of course it should be this way: I want the city to come down on bad landlords as much as anyone else. When it happens to you, though, it feels grossly unfair. Nevertheless, this is bureaucracy combined with civil court, and judges can be lenient, understanding, or minimally fair, and attorneys can file continuances. We had a building that we agreed needed to be resided, but didn't have the $11,000 right away (and our tenants, who in this case are almost family, weren't too concerned). We exercised our rights to the fullest and from the first letter from the city inspector, through the negotiation of agreed changes, to the final release in court after the building was sheathed in lovely maroon vinyl, the entire action took nearly two years. Our building looked ugly, but I don't think it contributed to the neighborhood decline as much as the drug house and gang activity up the block -- which despite active and vigorous observation and assistance from an unofficial neighborhood watch (the best part was when the detective joined our neighbor on his habitual front porch sit right across the street and simply called his cell phone, right out in the open, every time a sale went down) and a multi-state drug unit investigation, itself took more than one year to resolve. And this is for the serious shit.

Tenants, as it happens, have even greater rights in these types of situations, and it can be exceedingly difficult to evict a nuisance tenant, even if you have the city inspectors and the cops breathing down your neck. We have also had the situation of having a tenant with an unofficial boyfriend -- or maybe two -- engaged in a gregarious type of business. We don't care about a little pot smoking, as if we could prove it (it is hard enough to prove that the endless supply of out-of-state cars parked in our lots are anything but coincidence); but we want to have a family-friendly building and keep the neighborhood free of gang activity and petty crime. We let the cops perform their own investigations in these situations, and more often than not they know a lot more than we do. With a drug conviction of the boyfriend, obtaining an eviction is much simpler than without.

The idea that a casual smoker is going to have his ass bouncing on the street while still high is pure fantasy. There would almost have to be a public negative effect before any type of court action would proceed. I don't doubt that overzealous prosecutors can abuse this law or any other at their disposal (just as some landlords, and some tenants, can abuse them), but that's why we have an adversarial system of justice.

Funny aside: when we found pot plants flourishing in the shade of an empty apartment's porch, apparently sprung from butts dropped by a prior tenant, the cops dutifully pulled them out and inventoried them in plastic bags for testing, with one calling it the biggest bust of his career ... and he couldn't arrest anyone. Then there was the time our carpenter found a glass full of dead houseflies, dessicated down to their aquamarine eyes, and thought he'd found evidence of crack cocaine ...
posted by dhartung at 12:07 AM on August 15, 2003

I liked this:

which controlled substances and cannabis

Nice that they're not grouping weed with meth and all the other, more nasty controlled substances.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:14 AM on August 15, 2003

« Older Spooks & State Took Dim View On Prospect For...   |   New Mefi tagline...? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments