PRS Landlords Don’t Want Properties Used As Cannabis Farms

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
PRS Landlords Can Avoid Letting Properties To Cannabis Farmers

PRS Landlords Can Avoid Letting Properties To Cannabis Farmers

PRS Landlords Can Avoid Letting Properties
To Cannabis Farmers

There are a number of media reports circulating at the moment surrounding the increased use of private rented sector properties being used as cannabis farms and many PRS landlords are worried that they could also be at risk.

As we reported last week, the private rental sector is fast becoming the prime target for criminal gangs who turn residential properties into highly profitable growing space

There are an increasing number of cases where criminals have employed families to pose as would-be tenants, and unsuspecting landlords have accepted the applicants without bothering to comprehensively tenant reference them, only to discover that it is not the family that they have ended up renting their properties to. The landlord only discovers the deception when either the rent stops coming in or they start receiving complaints from neighbours about bad smells, constant noise or visitors calling at the property at odd hours.

Thorough tenant referencing checks are a vital tool for landlords and the information sources that they check can reveal the possibility of deception just by analysing the applicant’s rental history, often revealing multiple short term tenancies taken out in private rental sector properties over a relatively short period of time.

Cannabis farming in residential properties causes thousands of pounds worth of damage

Cannabis farming in residential properties causes thousands of pounds worth of damage to the property: electricity supplies are often dangerously bypassed along with water meters. Growers using automatic watering systems can cause serious damage to carpets, floor coverings and even floor joists. Holes are commonly knocked through walls to facilitate cables for lighting systems, internal doors are sometimes removed too, just to increase available floor space within properties

There are serious legal implications for landlords and letting agents when tenants are found to be growing, using or dealing drugs in their property. It is the landlord’s responsibility to take appropriate action to avoid letting to such troublesome tenants and spending a few pounds (GBP) on tenant referencing could be the difference between housing decent tenants or facing a custodial sentence for allowing drugs to be cultivated in properties under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Insurance companies may refuse to accept claims made by landlords for rental properties that have suffered serious damage because of cannabis cultivation, citing the landlords failure to thoroughly tenant reference applicants before accepting them for the tenancy, additionally, unsuspecting private rented sector landlords could also face difficulty dealing with the police for the same reason.

It can appear almost impossible for landlords to fully protect themselves from renting to cannabis farmers, but conducting thorough tenant referencing checks and doing periodic visits to the rental property can help identify tell-tale signs of cannabis cultivation earlier:

  • Landlords should be vigilant of suspicious behaviour by their tenants and listen to what the neighbours have to say about: curtains or blinds remaining closed all day, lights left on all day and night, moisture running down inside of windows, different people coming and going at odd times.
  • Landlords should also have an idea of their tenant’s employment status and lifestyle, for example if the tenant is a night worker they may keep irregular hours.
  • Cannabis farms have a strong smell and may be identified by simply standing outside the front door or by lifting the letter box.
  • Landlords who discover a cannabis farm in their rental properties should inform the police immediately and should not try to tackle the situation on their own.
  • When the police have been alerted the landlords should also inform their insurance providers about the situation.

Don’t leave anything to chance, conduct thorough tenant referencing checks on all tenant applicants!

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:30 am. Filed under Referencing. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.