If I’m renting an apartment, what is my potential liability regarding a previous tenant’s activities?

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2014

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If I’m renting an apartment, what is my potential liability regarding a previous tenant’s activities?

I moved into my current apartment about a month ago, and still receive the previous tenants’ mail (which I always take to the post office). A couple of days ago the postman tried to give me a package from one of the previous tenants, but after I refused saying that Im not the correct person, he informed me that he was a police officer and that the package contained an illegal substance. He then asked if I had ordered anything under the previous tenant’s name (I didn’t) and wanted to come inside and have a look around (which I refused). He left after I refused but I’m wondering if I should be worried.

Asked on November 2, 2014 under Criminal Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you are not liable for another person's criminality if you did not in some way assist or participate in it. Practically, if there is evidence that you were involved--even if only as someone receiving and passing along, with knowledge that they are contraband, drugs, etc., packages--you could be charged. You need to make sure that you are *not* seen as participating in whatever the prior tenant did. You may wish to speak with the police and ask them if the prior tenant was involved in crime and also what can you do to not even in the smallest way get mixed up with what he/she was involved in.

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