Can You Be Held Liable for Your Housemate's Drug Dealing?

Law Blog

Living in a shared house situation opens you up to a lot of new information about people you may or may not have know that well before you moved into the same house. If you suddenly realise that your housemate may be supplementing their income with illegal activities such as drug dealing, you may be concerned that you could also be found criminally liable. Here is a guide to the factors the court will consider if it becomes a legal issue.

Your knowledge of the activity

If you only find out about their drug dealing when they are arrested or late into the time you are living together, then you are less likely to be held liable than if you knew that the housemate was dealing drugs before they moved into your house. If you regularly went to your housemate looking for drugs, or receive drugs in lieu of payments for rent or bills, this is likely to indicate that you knew your housemate had large amounts of drugs on the premises and was exchanging them for money.

If you profited from the activity

If you profited from the activity, for example if your housemate took over a large portion of the rent or contributed to lavish holidays while officially in a low paying job, this can indicate that you may have know they were making money illegally. Any gifts or household items bought with illegally gained may be liable to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and depending on your profiting you may also be found liable on related charges.

If the majority of drug dealing took place on-site or off-site

If your housemate is primarily dealing out of your home, this leaves you more vulnerable to criminal charges. It is much more plausible to claim that you did not know about the activity if it mainly occurred off site, for example at raves or nightclubs.

As a result it can be very sensible as soon as you learn your housemate is dealing from your house to formally request that they stop dealing, or at least record any verbal communications to ensure there is a record you can draw on showing your objections to the activity.

If you do discover your housemate is dealing drugs from your house, it is very sensible to visit a law firm like Preston Law for legal advice on how best to avoid criminal charges or eviction from your house.


23 June 2015

Fact And Fiction: Accurate Information About The Law

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