If my landlord was arrested and will be in prison for a long time, what happens to my house and do I still have to pay rent?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2012

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If my landlord was arrested and will be in prison for a long time, what happens to my house and do I still have to pay rent?

I rent my house from 2 brothers. The actual owner lives in Morocco and I’ve never met him. The brother lives in town and he’s who I deal with. But, the brother was just arrested in this huge FBI sting. He was charged with weapons and having over 500g of cocaine. What’s going to happen to my home? Should I continue to pay rent knowing I’m likely supporting an overseas drug dealer? I pay my rent by depositing cash into the overseas brother’s account. Will the house be seized?

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) As long as the landlord(s) have not breached their obligations, you still have to pay rent. While your moral qualms are understandable, your legal obligations under the lease (which is a contract) are wholly separate from the issue of the brother's arrest or criminal activities. Keep paying the rent as you have been.

2) If the house was either the "fruit" (paid for by) of criminal proceeds or was used for criminal activities, it is possible it will be seized (though that will likely take months, at a minimum). If/when it is seized, that will terminate your tenancy, but not until then.

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