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Property managers and landlord’s biggest nightmare is the thought that tenants are using, distributing and creating drugs in the property. Probably one of the most common and worst drugs would be methamphetamine which is very popular in Honolulu and on Oahu. If a property has been used to produce or cook meth, local law enforcement is obligated to notify the landlord or property owner who then has to test the home for contamination. If the property has been contaminated, then the owner has to arrange for the property to be sanitized prior to occupancy at their expense.

Things to look out for

The most obvious signs of drug use is unusual behavior and appearance:

tenant producing drugs in home
  • Things to look out for
  • The most obvious signs of drug use is unusual behavior and appearance:
  • Cold and balmy skin
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unable to focus
  • Paranoia
  • Oversensitivity and quick to anger
  • Jaw twitches
  • Frequently rubbing their nose
  • Open sores on the skin
  • Poor or rotting teeth
  • Sleep deprived
  • Neighbor complaints of chemical like odor a lot of activity at the home during early morning hours

Things to look out for in the property:

  • Excessive amounts of antifreeze, cold and headache medicine or containers that have been painted over
  • High levels of humidity in the home or large amount of strong lighting
  • Strong chemical odors
  • Chemistry-like equipment

How to respond

It may seem contradictory to notify local law enforcement as this could seem like it is not in your client’s best interest. However, failure to report such behavior could have serious legal consequences against you if you had knowledge but failed to report a crime. It is recommended not to confront the tenant directly, but instead to notify the Honolulu police department and let them handle it.

Disclosure and treating the property

Each state is a bit different, but most states include Hawaii require you to disclose if a property has been used to produce drugs, especially methamphetamine. At this point, the owner would be better off selling the property as it will become extremely difficult to rent the house out to a qualified tenant, even with the EPA’s certification that the property has been treated. Its a lose lose situation for the owner. Not only does it become difficult to rent the home but it is also difficult to sell the home as well and therefore they will have to do so at a discounted price.

Avoiding disaster

They best way to handle drug use is to prevent it. Most drug producers and dealers look for the easy way out which is why most of them opt to rent out a home because they can bail if the heat gets turned up. General screening techniques serve as a deterrent. This would include rental history, employment, periodic evaluations, etc. A drug dealers and producers worst enemy is someone who checks up on them so they will try to avoid landlords and property managers who look into their history and keep an eye on the property. While there is no fool proof system, it is good to setup some barriers which will deter them from wanting to lease out one of your properties.


What to Do if I Suspect the Tenants are Using Drugs - by