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Article> Have Your Tenants Got Green Fingers?

Article kindly supplied by Dave Lawrence
Property Investor & Entrepreneur

As a landlord, when you let a property, you hope that your tenants will treat your property with care and respect ensuring that, at the end of their tenancy, they return the property to you in the same condition they found it in when they arrived. You also assume that your tenants will not undertake any kind of illegal activity in the house. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

In the UK there is a growing trend towards tenants renting properties for the purpose of cultivating illegal drugs. Make sure you reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this type of activity by learning how to spot the warning signs of illegal activity.

The equipment and materials required for growing cannabis can be acquired quickly and cheaply by almost anyone. This combined with the attraction of being able to carry out the activity in someone else’s property has made it a relatively simple task for the criminally minded tenant to set up a cannabis factory. However you can mitigate your risk of falling foul of this type of activity by looking out for a few simple clues

Your vigilance should start at the tenant viewing. Tenants intending to grow cannabis may show little regard for the practical considerations that would normally concern prospective tenants such as identifying a space to position their washing machine in the kitchen or checking there are enough sockets where they would want to position their television. They may not even look in all of the rooms. This is because they do not intend to use the property to live in, in a normal fashion

You should also be wary of tenants who show an unusual interest in the electricity supply at the viewing. If a tenant asks repeated questions about the location of the rcd board, where the supply enters the house, and other aspects of the electrical infrastructure this could be another indicator that they intend to grow cannabis at the property. The reason for this is that cannabis needs a lot of heat and light to grow, meaning that the electricity consumption in the property will increase massively. Invariably the grower will try to tamper with the wiring, by bypassing the electricity meter, as a way to avoid detection.

You should also be wary of any tenant offering to pay the rent for the entire tenancy up front and in cash at the start of the tenancy. Cannabis growers will often make such an offer to increase the chances of you not needing to visit them and disturb their activity, during the tenancy. Also, doing this will mean that you do not have their bank account details, making them more difficult to trace if their activity is discovered.

When a tenancy has started there are other signs to look out for. Cannabis cultivators will obviously try to hide their activity from view and therefore will ensure that curtains remain closed and windows blacked out at all times. If you notice that this is always the case during the day time it may arouse your suspicions. You could then attempt to contact the tenant to arrange a property inspection. If the tenant ignores your calls or tries to avoid an inspection this indicates that they do not want you to see the inside of the property and should arouse you suspicions further.

In such cases you may wish to examine the rubbish being thrown out of the property for further evidence. Large quantities of plant and gardening waste including compost, plastic pots and the like, plus an unusual odour, provide further reason to be suspicious.

Following these tips should ensure that your uk property investment is not an easy target for cannabis growers. However, if you have reason to suspect that cannabis is being grown in one of you investment properties, you should contact the police immediately and ask them to look into it.

Good Luck with your investing!



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