Criminal Activity and Evictions

Categories :: Landlord/Tenant > Evictions

What criminal activity would provide grounds for eviction in public housing?

If you or a family member or guest or someone under the tenant's control is involved in criminal activity, the housing authority does not have to provide you with a hearing before filing a breach of lease action in District Court. Neither do you have to be charged or convicted of a crime to be evicted for criminal activity.

However, if you live in public housing, your lease may state that the landlord has to consider certain mitigating circumstances to allow you and your family to remain in public housing, even if a family member or guest committed a crime, The lease also might state that the housing authority has the discretion to allow the family to remain if the person committing the crime vacates the unit.

Your lease may also state that the housing authority has to give you the opportunity to challenge the accuracy and relevance of any police report upon which a lease termination is based. This means that the housing authority has to give you a copy of the police report and offer you the opportunity to discuss the situation in a face-to-face meeting.

Different Rules in Baltimore City

In Baltimore City, all public housing leases include these protections. If the housing authority sends you a letter advising you that your lease is terminated because of allegations of criminal activity, the housing authority must give you the opportunity to meet with one of its attorneys to discuss the situation. Even if a crime has been committed by a family member, the housing authority in Baltimore City will consider a number of mitigating circumstances to allow the family to remain in public housing, including the seriousness of the offense, whether other family members participated in the crime, whether the head-of-household tried to discourage the crime, the effect an eviction would have on family members who did not participate in the crime, how long the family has resided in public housing, the family's tenant history, and whether the household includes young children and elderly or disabled individuals. When you meet with the housing authority attorney to discuss the situation, and the housing authority decides to proceed with the eviction, at the court trial, the housing authority cannot bring up or disclose any admissions you made at the meeting.

What type of criminal activity would provide grounds for eviction in HUD housing?

Drug-related criminal activity on the property by a tenant, household member, guest, or person under the tenant's control provides grounds for lease termination. The landlord can evict a family when a household member is illegally using drugs or when a pattern of illegal drug use interferes with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

The landlord may evict a family if a family member's alcohol abuse threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

The landlord may also evict a tenant who is a convicted felon and is fleeing to avoid criminal prosecution or custody or a tenant violating probation or parole.

What type of criminal activity would provide grounds for eviction by a section 8 landlord?

The landlord can evict the family for drug-related criminal activity on or near the unit by a tenant, household member, guest, or person under the tenant's control, or when, a household member is illegally using drugs or when a pattern of illegal drug use interferes with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the unit by other residents.

The landlord can evict a family for any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of individuals residing in the immediate vicinity or any violent criminal activity on or near the unit,

The landlord can also evict a tenant who is a convicted felon who is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody or a tenant who violates probation or parole.

The landlord may, but is not required to, consider all relevant circumstances before evicting a family, including the seriousness of the offense, the effect on the community, whether the head-of-household participated in the criminal activity, the extent to which the head-of-household has shown personal responsibility, the effect of eviction on the family, the demand for assisted housing by lease-compliant families, the effect of the landlord's actions on the integrity of the section 8 program.

The owner, may, but is not required to allow the family to remain in the unit under the condition that the household member committing the criminal activity vacates, In determining whether to evict a family for illegal drug use or alcohol abuse, the landlord may, but is not required to, take into consideration that the offender is participating or has graduated from a supervised drug and/or alcohol program

Source: 

Legal Aid Bureau (Theda Saffo), updated by Jessica Nhem
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2014.”

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.