‘Grow cannabis – we won’t arrest you’ say Durham Police in news articles across the internet, but will this light touch approach cost landlords? Durham police want to focus on bigger offenders, but growing cannabis can cause major problems for landlords of rented properties.
Durham Police are thought to let small-scale ‘personal’ growers off with warnings in a shift in emphasis to cut costs, however they are overlooking the incredible financial burden this may cause landlords.
Criminals creating cannabis factories in privately rented properties can cause thousands of pounds of damage through ripping up carpets, water damage, holes in walls, and invalidating insurance claims…not to mention police involvement.
The RLA is concerned that lighter punishments for small-scale offenders – cautions and destruction of plants has been referenced – could encourage cannabis growers in privately rented properties as a response to lax enforcement and prosecution.
The RLA recommends the best way of dealing with cannabis farms in privately rented properties is to avoid them from starting in the first place.
Durham Police has suggested that personal use is not a priority for enforcement; however, landlords should be aware that their properties could be at risk if a tenant uses the premises for growing.
The RLA has worked closely with the Home Office over time regarding what best advice should be given to landlords regarding cannabis cultivation.
The RLA has written to the Police Chief Constable for clarification of this stance and how it may impact landlords of privately rented properties.