New York  |  Criminal Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 6/18/13, 3:03 pm

Your help is greatly appreciated. I have a friend George who owns a home on Long Island, NY and rents his basement to a tenant named Mike. George has a slight suspicion that Mike may be growing marijuana in the basement but according to their contract, George isn't permitted to enter Mike's living space without his permission, which Mike never allows saying he likes his privacy and is also very anti-social most of the time, the reason George thought he didn't want anyone coming down there.

In what instances is George legally required to report suspicion of something like this, since minor signs such as using marijuana for personal use or having a lot of money may not be enough?

What if Mike were doing this and caught by the police but lied and said George was involved or knew about it? What facts or evidence would disprove George's involvement with or knowledge that this was occurring? Will the defense of not knowing because of not being allowed to enter the basement help?

George was told that if suspicious of someone growing marijuana he should check if his electricity and water bills have increased drastically, which they did not. If he presents evidence such as this will it clear him from suspicion of knowing, if it is indeed occurring?

Also, George has a currently unrented additional guest house on the same property but not attached to the main house, would he be safer legally if Mike committed these acts in the guest house or would be there be no difference than it occurring in the basement?

George also needs Mike's rent money to afford the bills, if George decides to overlook suspicious signs, or knows that is is occurring but allows it so he will get his rent, what would be the legal repercussions for each? George has never been involved in any criminal activity, has a clean record, and is a veteran.

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