Can Landlords Go to Jail for Their Tenants' Criminal Activities?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Amazingly enough, the answer is sometimes yes. 

A few California criminal statutes make landlords liable for criminal activities that take place at the properties they are renting to someone else.

One of these is California's dogfighting law (Penal Code 597.5 PC). This law makes it a crime to let someone else use a space that you own or control to stage dog fights, or to raise dogs for dogfighting.

Another such law is Penal Code 337a PC, California's bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering law. This law also provides for criminal penalties for landlords who rent out their property to people who use the space to run bookmaking or pool-selling operations.

However, both of these laws provide that the landlord is only guilty if s/he knew the property was being used for illegal activity. This means the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the landlord knew what was going on.

Plus, California juries may be more reluctant to convict a landlord than to convict someone who personally committed the crime. (Also see our article, Am I liable if someone drowns in my pool in California?)

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370