Recent figures show that the Police are discovering record number of cannabis farms, which are often housed in privately rented properties. The RLA’s Landlord Advice Team (LAT) has some advice for landlords to ensure their properties remain intact and their relationship with police is not strained.
Insurance companies can abandon landlords, and difficulty with the police can also be an issue for unsuspecting private landlords.
We have put together our guidance and some best practice tips to avoid the threat of cannabis farms set up in properties and help prevent this from occurring in your property. It is difficult for a landlord to protect themselves, but doing regular checks can help identify tell-tale signs early on:
- Be vigilant of suspicious behaviour: curtains/blinds closed all day, lights on all day, coming and going at all time.
- Conduct a thorough reference of your tenants before signing the tenancy agreement
- Having an idea of your tenant’s lifestyle is helpful, as a night worker will keep traditionally irregular hours, for example
- Cannabis farms are notorious for the strong smell and could be as easy to identify as standing outside the door or lifting the letter box
- If you discover a cannabis farm/factory be sure to tell the police immediately
- When you have alerted the police be sure to let your insurers know the situation
Criminals can employ families to pose as tenants, and thorough checks are crucial in this regard. Look for multiple tenancies over a short period of time.
Cannabis factories/farms can do thousands of pounds worth of damage to properties: carpets will be ripped up, holes put through walls, and watering systems can cause months worth of repair work. Criminals will also bypass electricity and water meters. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you or your properties!
Once you discover there is a Cannabis Farm and you have contacted the Police, if they serve a Closure Order of more than 48 hours you will be able to regain possession of your property with a Section 8 Notice on Grounds 7A.
As always RLA members are encouraged to call in for any questions that they may have about potential cannabis farms, the Landlord Advice Team (LAT), is knowledgeable and will do everything they can to help you recoup any loses you may suffer. If you’re not an RLA member and would like advice, you can join here for £79.95 per year.