How landlords can defend against cannabis farming by @MarkTrenfield

How landlords can defend against cannabis farming by @MarkTrenfield

20:10 PM, 12th July 2012, About 12 years ago 3

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Cases of residential cannabis farming are still rising across the UK and, only this week, another Swindon rental property – in Durham Street – was found to have £160,000 worth of cannabis growing in it (see Swindon Advertiser lead story, 10th July 2012).

With drug crime sometimes causing property damage running into tens of thousands of pounds – how can the private landlord weed out these drug growing criminals?

Firstly, take care in the selection and vetting of the prospective tenants. It is good practice to take previous landlord / letting agency references as well as employment and character references. A credit check would also be prudent to ensure that the tenant does not have any CCJs for previously unpaid rent.

A new tenant vetting facility, called TenantID, is available where landlords can gather detailed information about the prospective tenant’s previous letting history from a national tenant database. More information on using TenantID can be found by visiting

Another tip is to visit the prospective tenant at their current address to assess how they are treating their existing landlord’s property. If they are mistreating their current rental property – they will probably mistreat yours as well!

If a tenant is unwilling to provide references, or the information given subsequently turns out to be inconsistent, or if they don’t want me to visit them at their current address – I immediately reject them.

It should come as no surprise that cannabis growers target those landlords who cannot be bothered to vet their tenants!

So, never create a short term tenancy with a tenant who is offering to pay rent in advance in cash (sometimes held within a carrier bag). Landlords that get taken in by this ploy – beguiled by the bag full of money I suppose – often find their property being used to grow or distribute drugs, at a later date.

Once the tenant has moved in – carry out regular inspections both internally and externally. Befriend the investment property neighbours and ask them to keep a watchful eye out for you. Give them your personal telephone number and encourage them to call if the tenants are behaving strangely or are being anti-social in any way.

Keep a look out for people arriving and leaving the property at random times, a pungent aroma in the area, large amounts of electrical wiring, chemical and compost and blacked out windows or bright lights all night long.

Landlord buildings insurance may be compromised if you do not inspect your property frequently. Your insurance company may argue that you have been negligent and may refuse to cover any damage caused by the criminals such as holes in the walls and ceilings, water damage, fire damage and the cost of the electricity illegally extracted to grow the cannabis.

I have been a landlord for over 15 years and have never had a cannabis problem at any of the properties that I own or manage – although I know of many local landlords that have been affected by this problem because of poor tenant vetting or non-existent property inspections or both!

Mark TrenfieldArticle kindly provided by Mark Trenfield at mlettings

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkTrenfield

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9:03 AM, 13th July 2012, About 12 years ago

Alternatively landlords could contact their local politicians and tell them they need to control and regulate cannabis as a regulated market is the only thing that will safeguard landlords properties against this type of crime.

12:31 PM, 13th July 2012, About 12 years ago

Quidge is right. The harder you crack down on cannabis or any substance the more the price goes up and the nastier and more determined criminal gangs will become. As cannabis is about 100 times less harmful than alcohol it is absurd that our government maintains this deeply damaging policy.

It is prohibition and dullard, cowardly politicians that are responsible for this plague on landlords, not cannabis

23:27 PM, 13th July 2012, About 12 years ago

Lessons are never learned from history!
The actions of some silly temperance lady in america ultimately resulted in the Prohibtion Act.
This gave local little criminals the opportunity to make vast amounts of money and as such helped create the Mafia.
The monies were sufficient to create a criminal empire which has gone on from strength to strength.
People conveniently forget that the only reason Britain ended up with Hong Kong on a lease was that the Royal Navy destroyed the Chinese fleet sent by the Chinese Emperor to prevent the British merchants forcing the sale of opium to the Chinese.
So essentially you had the British Govt defending the ability of drug dealers to sell their wares to the Chinese.
Of course the British Govt took their cut in taxes on the opium.
Why not do the same now, legalise every single drug, tax it and offer it via designated licenced premises; just like alcohol.
That might even solve the defecit crisis.
If you have idiots who are prepared to abuse legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco what is so different with other stimulants.
If people are stupid enough to abuse themselves with such drugs that is their lookout.
In the meantime at least the govt stops massive policing bills and gets rid of a vast swathe of criminality in almost 1 fell swoop.
I say legalise and tax ALL presently banned drugs.
If people want to slowly kill themselves through licenced addiction that is their lookout, you can do that with alcohol and tobacco now.
I fail to see any difference.
Indeed it was stated by Professor Nutt that alcohol anfd tobacco was far more problenmatic than present class A drugs.
I agree.
But again I do not care if someone wants to drink themselves into an early grave.
Life is all about choices.
Make the wrong ones and you die.
Simple really isn't it!?
They can always say no.
If you want to kill yourself through drugs etc, go ahead, I couldn't care or less.
Providing little old grannies are not attacked and muredered for drug money I have not the slightest interest in these idiots that CHOOSE to take drugs.

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