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Landlord may go to jail for tenant’s criminal activities. 6 months to 5 years!

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Landlord may go to jail for tenant’s criminal activities.

I learnt about this landlord going to jail for tenant’s criminal activities a few years ago when a unit in the block opposite my close friend’s condo unit in Penang was raided by the police. It was said that the unit was used as a drug processing centre. Of course, I do wonder how advanced is a drug processing centre.

That was when I read that it’s possible for the owner to also be charged in court for the illegal activities carried out by his / her tenant(s). Now, we have another article reminding me, so I think I should share it here. it can also be a reminder for me as well.

Who were my tenants when I was the landlord?

Well, they range from doctors (yes, close to half were doctors), engineer (who went on to buy a landed home after renting from me for a few years), purchasing executive (who is now a manager with a MNC), new lawyer (who is now a consultant with a GLC), franchise owner (this shop I like too), engineering students (whose mother came to sweep the floors on their last day) and more. Somehow, all of them except for ONE (1) were all good people.

Okay, if you are a landlord, it’s best to know who your tenants are, okay? Else, the below may be a problem for you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Article in HELP University Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting and Institute Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam said that landlords can be held liable if they allow illegal activity such as storing illegal cigarettes on their property. Many are choosing to ignore tenants’ backgrounds due to current economic upheaval.

He said, “This is especially so, especially if they are offered above the market rate or paid twelve or twenty-four rentals in advance,” adding that such crime is punishable under Section 135 of Customs Act as well as Section 107 and 108 of the Penal Code.

He said, “This ignorance or oversight will often land them into trouble as there are multiple reports of tenants using warehouses or private homes for nefarious activities such as storing contraband goods like cigarettes.”

He also said that if the landlord knows that his tenant is using his residence to conceal illicit cigarettes, not only the tenant but also the landlord as the owner of the house, can be charged under this subsection, which carries a minimum fine of RM100,000 or minimum imprisonment of not less than 6 months and not more than five years or both. Please do read the full article here: Article in

Due Diligence needed and it’s not for criminal activities alone

A bad tenant will be very hard to remove as well. Here are some tips for your reading yeah. 10 logical steps in choosing a tenant. If you do not feel good about a tenant, just remember that your hunch may be right. There are tenants from hell as well and they may just be damaging everything inside your home making our losses way higher than the rental we received.

A good real estate agent is certainly helpful in assessing the potential tenants too. I would not recommending trying to do it all by yourself yeah. There are certainly reasons to pay the necessary professional fees. Happy renting out yeah, future landlord.

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Next suggested article: Bankruptcy in Malaysia during the MCO period. High or low?

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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