Englewood man facing eviction for smoking pot inside his apartment

Legal experts say landlords can evict for pot

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Christopher Williams says he wants answers after finding a three-day notice on the front door of his apartment in Englewood, claiming he is in violation of his lease for using or possessing marijuana in his home.

"It's not right," said Williams. "It makes me upset because I moved here from Mississippi to do a better start."

Williams has lived at the Centennial East Apartments located off East Fremont Street for seven months and showed 7NEWS his medical marijuana license that was prescribed by a doctor.  

"I went and obtained every legal document that I need to smoke marijuana ... to help me with my medical injury," further explained Williams.

However, legal experts say medical license or not, tenants don't have a lot of rights when it comes to marijuana inside their apartments.

"The constitutional amendment specifically says that landlord's do not have to allow tenants to possess or use medical marijuana or marijuana for recreational purposes," said Don Eby a real estate attorney and partner at Robinson & Henry, P.C. He is referring to Amendment 64, the ballot measure passed by Colorado voters in 2012 legalizing recreational use and possession of marijuana by people age 21 or older.  

Eby specializes in tenant-landlord disputes. He says because Williams signed a crime free/drug free lease addendum, he agreed not to use, sell or store marijuana in his apartment.

"This is a very common problem, very misunderstood area of the law," Eby said.

Williams isn't getting kicked out yet, the notice he received was just a warning. It says Williams can either stop using marijuana in his apartment or vacate the premises in three days.

However, if he's caught using or storing marijuana again the landlord could evict him. Eby says a landlord would need proof to make an eviction order hold up in court.

"Do they have pictures, do they have video, other neighbors who are willing to testify against the tenant," Eby explained.

As for Williams, he says he still plans to fight it.

"I'm not planning to leave here," he said.

7NEWS tried to get answers from the apartment leasing office, but the manager wouldn't speak to Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski. The manager provided a corporate office number for 7NEWS to call, but no one there has returned our phone calls. 

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