Landlords warned of criminals using properties as cannabis farms

Landlords warned of criminals using properties as cannabis farms

0:01 AM, 22nd May 2023, About A year ago 1

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A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of rented properties being used by criminal gangs to produce cannabis.

The charity Crimestoppers has launched a campaign after it received more than 14,000 anonymous reports in 2022 about cannabis being illegally grown in their community.

It says that illegal cannabis cultivation can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to a property.

The campaign follows a recent Property118 investigation into the growing problem facing landlords of criminals setting up a cannabis farm without the landlord’s knowledge  – and leave them thousands of pounds out pocket paying for extensive repairs.

‘A property can be left completely destroyed’

Mark Hallas, Crimestoppers’ chief executive, said: “We’re raising awareness of the risk of violence and intimidation that follows when criminal gangs take over properties to grow cannabis and go unchallenged.

“Gangs rent properties in both urban settings and rural parts of the country. Occasionally, some of these buildings – often unwittingly rented to criminals for drug production – can be left completely destroyed.”

He added: “We are encouraging the public, including property contractors and landlords, to keep their eyes open and to report any suspicious signs to our charity 100% anonymously.”

Rented properties modified by criminal gangs with barricaded windows and doors

Crimestoppers says landlords should be aware of the signs of cannabis cultivation with rented residential and commercial properties being modified by criminals who barricade windows and doors.

The criminals’ antics also lead to unsafe electricity wiring, plus mould and water damage from hydroponics and irrigation systems.

Crimestoppers also warns landlords they should be wary of tenants who might offer to pay their rent in cash several months in advance.

This is done, the charity says, to discourage letting agents and landlords from calling around or visiting the property.

Other signs that landlords that should look out for include:

  • Blacked out windows, or vents sealed/blocked to prevent the heat and smell of cannabis from inside the property escaping.
  • Frequent visitors throughout the day and night.
  • Asking for complete privacy, requesting no periodic inspections or preventing the inspection of the property even when given reasonable notice.

A full list of the warning signs can be found here.

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Judith Wordsworth

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12:16 PM, 14th June 2023, About A year ago

Ignorance is no defence in law - so Landlords and/or their agents need to do regular property checks on PRS property.

And landlords not their letting/managing agents is where the buck stops.

If a landlord has a managing agent in the written contract there needs a clause stating how often property inspections should be taking place. If they are not done, or missed, and the landlord is charged by the police - then the landlord should/could sue their letting agent for breach of contract!

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