Landlords Says Tenants Destroyed Home with Pot

Landlords Says Tenants Destroyed Home with Pot



We first showed you exclusive video of a suspected marijuana grow house raided by Palm Springs police Tuesday, January 31st.

While no one was arrested, the homeowner claims police waited too long to act, and she’s left behind with a badly damaged home.

Officers say she tipped off her tenants that she had called police, and so there was no evidence to charge them when the task force arrived.

The homeowner would like to at least see vandalism charges, and blames California’s new pot laws on what she says is a lax approach by law enforcement.

"The government won’t process anymore marijuana claims because of what’s happened with the new law in California," said homeowner, Brooke Gunther.

Proposition 64 legalized marijuana for those over 21, but you can only grow six plants a person.

"Marijuana laws over the last few years have changed significantly, so yes it’s changing and we’ll change with it," said Lt. Mike Kovaleff with the Palm Springs Police Department. 

This appeared illegal, so the drug task force raided the home.

"The thing is the police were supposed to do the raid a week from last Thursday, they told me they were going in week from last Thursday," said Gunther.

Police say the homeowner let the tenants know police had been called, and said getting a search warrant takes time.

"We have the Fourth Amendment to follow, just because one person says there is marijuana in the home just doesn’t mean that get to bust down doors and take plants, we have to investigate. We’re not just going to jump through hoops to address some drugs depending on circumstances," said Lt. Kovaleff.

The homeowner would like vandalism charges filed, but police aren’t pursuing them.

"How is it not malicious intent to take over someone’s house, destroy it?" asked Gunther.

So we spoke with a private attorney in Palm Desert about vandalism, and the changing landscape of pot prosecution.

"In the case here where you’ve got marijuana that’s been grown illegally and there’s damage, the District Attorney has to look at it on a case by case basis, to determine whether it’s worth the resources to pursue," said Robert Gilliland, Jr. of Guralnick and Gilliland, Attorneys At Law.

With these hazy guidelines, the homeowner still has rights.
"The landlord has remedies such as suing for breach or contract or negligence to pursue their damages," said Gilliland.