Inspect Properties Regularly To Avoid Cannabis Farms

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Inspect Properties Regularly To Avoid Cannabis Farms

Inspect Properties Regularly To Avoid Cannabis Farms

Cannabis Farm Warning For UK PRS Landlords

Thousands of private rental sector properties in the UK are being used as cannabis farms and landlords are being warned to conduct regular property inspections to avoid becoming unwitting victims of drug gangs.

Figures show that 7,865 cannabis farms were identified across the UK in 2012, up 15% from 2010.

If users search for ‘cannabis farms landlord’ on Google and the results throw up hundreds of results showing stories of UK landlords facing huge repair bills after they let properties to tenants who turned them into full scale cannabis farms.

Many PRS landlords wrongly assume that damage to rental properties by drug gangs, which can include floor boards being ripped up, internal walls knocked through and dangerous tampering with the property’s electrical supply is covered by a landlords insurance policy, even if the landlord has malicious tenant damage cover.

UK PRS landlords should be aware that while many insurance providers consider the cultivation of cannabis under the malicious damage by tenant element of a policy, there are financial limits to the amount of cover provided. Many insurance providers will limit the total amount of malicious damage to a rental property to just £5,000 (GBP). This means that any repairs to rental properties caused by cannabis farmers could still end up costing landlords many thousands of pounds to put right.

Landlords should conduct proper tenant referencing checks on applicants before offering them a tenancy and should also arrange periodic inspections of all rental properties in their portfolios, either personally or through their appointed letting agent, to ensure that tenants are behaving within the terms of their rental agreements.Any tenant applicant who insists that they want to pay six months’ rent upfront should start alarm bells ringing with landlords. Other signs to watch out for include; tenants showing a pointed interest in the power supplies to the property, and the tenant’s reasons for renting, such as a new job, not tying up with their references and other paperwork.

Landlords who spot signs of cannabis cultivation in their rental properties should inform the police immediately without raising the tenant’s suspicions and allow them to deal with it.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Curtains permanently drawn even during the day
  • Condensation on windows even during warm weather
  • Strong smells coming from the property
  • Neighbours complaining that people are visiting the property at odd times of the night

Ignorance is no defence when it comes to tackling drug cultivation in rental properties and it is the landlords responsibility to ensure that they only let to trustworthy applicants.

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:35 am. Filed under Insurance. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.