Skip to Content

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Should You Call the Authorities on Your Troublesome Tenants?

Key Largo Police Officers with Cruisers Outside a Residential HomeFor single-family rental home investors in Key Largo, meticulously screening your tenants is one of the best ways to mitigate future problems. Although the fact is that notwithstanding your best endeavors, there’s still a likelihood that you will be faced with a problem tenant or two. If things between you and your tenant do go irredeemably wrong, you may wonder whether it is appropriate to call the police on your tenant. Before you pick up the phone, however, you should know some of the key differences between standard laws and landlord/tenant laws.

In most states, tenants have certain protections granted to them by law. This suggests that if you break a tenant’s rights, even if you feel like you have good reasons to do so, you could end up being the one in trouble with the law instead of your tenant. For example, you may think that a tenant who overstays their lease is legally trespassing on your property and can be removed by the police. But the truth is, this is not the case.

Once you’ve rented a property to a tenant, the police have no authority to remove them from the property. This is because you have given up certain rights to the property while it is occupied by the tenant. This is true even if their lease has expired and you have requested that they vacate the property. In such cases, regular trespassing laws do not apply. In order to force the tenant to vacate the property, you will need to legally evict them by obtaining a court order.

One more key difference separating standard laws and landlord/tenants laws concern how and when you can enter a leased property, or give permission for others to do so. In most states, landlord/tenant laws require property owners to give advance notice prior to entering an occupied rental home. Unplanned and unannounced visits are typically illegal, no matter the reason. This same rule applies to police officers and others who may want to enter the home.

Under standard laws, the property owner is the one who has the authority to grant access to the property. But tenant/landlord laws give this right to the tenant. Under most conditions, landlords do not have the authority to invite the police or anyone else into the property without the tenant’s consent. The one exception to this rule is in an emergency situation; police or emergency personnel may legally enter the rental house if someone inside is in dire need of assistance.

Despite these protections, however, there may be times when calling the police on your tenant is necessary. For example, if you encounter a situation that you feel is putting anyone in danger, it may be time to call the police. As a property owner, most disputes can be settled professionally and courteously. But if you ever feel that your safety or that of your tenant, a neighbor, or someone else is under threat, contact the proper authorities.

The same thing is true if you discover that your tenant is involved in criminal activity. Landlord/tenant laws do not protect tenants from being held accountable for their illegal activities. If you have reason to believe that the tenant is involved in an activity such as illegal drug use or distribution, or any other clear violations of both your lease and the law, it is time to contact the authorities and tell them what you know. They can then help you ensure that the property is in accordance with local laws. Just remember that criminal charges, if any, are separate from the legal process of eviction. Even if your tenant is arrested or sent to jail, you will still need to go through the full eviction process to regain control of your rental property. Being arrested does not change your tenant’s rights to occupy the property under landlord/tenant law.

While no property owner wants a rental situation to end up this way, it is good to be informed and prepared just in case. Tenant relations can be a challenge and are always one of the most time-consuming parts of a landlord’s job. However, help is readily available.

Real Property Management Sunshine can assist property owners with all aspects of tenant relations. Our Key Largo property management professionals will work with your tenants, handling any unfortunate incidents that may arise. This will save you time and, as they say, time is money. To learn more, contact us online or call us at 305-930-7867 for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.