If a tenant grew marijuana in my home, did he break the lease?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

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If a tenant grew marijuana in my home, did he break the lease?

The 1 year lease is up and my tenants have moved out. It was evident that he grew marijuana in 1 of the bedrooms because of the smell and some damage to the carpet. He admitted to it and says he has a license to grow it. In the signed lease, he never told me he was going to grow it in my home and did not receive my permission to do so. I believe that he broke the lease doing this (perhaps even illegally). The odor has caused me the loss of several potential tenants and 2 months rent; I’ve had to paint the closet and room and possibly will have to replace the carpet. Do I have to return his $850 deposit?

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maine


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read your lease with your tenant in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed you by the tenant and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

Carefully read the provisions concerning the security deposit and its use. If its purpose is to repair damages caused by your former tenant during the lease period and he grew marijuana in your rental without your permission and the growing of it damaged your property, your former tenant should be responsible for the damages that he caused.

In many states the landlord is required to return the tenant's deposit within a certain time period of move out and if not, a debit of the security deposit needs to be sent by the landlord with receipts showing what the debit was for.

Answer: From what you have written, your former tenant damaged your property and he is reponsible for its repairs. Whether he broke the lease with you remains to be seen from a review of it and any prohibition of raising marijuana on the premises.


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