query: landlord-tenant drug control

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Thu Sep 27 11:18:03 CDT 2001

[ed:  please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with your 
responses to Mike's query.]

From: "Mike Hodge" <mhodge at tnrc.net>


I have an interesting sort of landlord-tenant question.

I'm doing some work with a non-profit group that has 
developed a number of badly-needed Single Room Occupancy 
rental units for formerly homeless people and other special 
needs populations.  They have 173 units in one location (an 
old motel).  They developed this about 10 years ago and have 
slowly been adding new programs to serve their residents.  
One problems that continues to pop up is that of drug dealers 
coming inside this complex to make deliveries -- the "supply" 
side.  They think they've gotten rid of any residents that may 
have been dealing drugs, but now they are trying to remove as 
much of the "demand" as possible.   Drug use by some 
residents attracts the dealers and also encourages residents 
to participate in illegal activity to get money for drugs.  

They have made the area as secure as possible, with an 
electrically operated gate; visitors must check in at the office 
and leave their drivers' licenses; they work hard to evict 
anyone found to be using drugs, unless they are willing to get 
help; they have various social services and mental health 
counseling available.  I've been impressed with their several 
stage eviction procedure that allows you to get help and stop 
your disruptive behavior -- but that still uses eviction as the 
final result if you don't work with them.   Random drug-
screenings would not be legal.  They can drug-test residents 
when they move in and probably could test also when their 
leases are renewed, but this could cause many bad feelings 
among the "law abiding" group.  Our agency is trying to assist 
this group by organizing a residents association that can work 
on this and other issues, but progress is slow.  

QUESTION:  Does anyone know of similar situations where a 
very motivated landlord was able to deal with the "demand" 
side of a drug problem?  Are there strategies that can deal 
with this problem and yet still protect constitutional rights?  
Any stories will be helpful, both "success" stories and "less 
than success".  

Mike Hodge      mhodge at tnrc.net
Neighborhoods Resource Center
P.O. Box 100941
14 Academy Place; Suite 2
Nashville, TN   37224-0941
Phone     615-782-8212
FAX       615-782-8213

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