3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
From the many years of dealing with problem tenants, we have seen an, dare I say it, growing increase, of landlords being stuck with cannabis factories in their properties. They unknowingly have rented their property to drug barons as they unfortunately have fallen in to the trap of taking a large amount of cash in advance, failed to do the proper referencing on who that tenant is, and have succeeded in letting this criminal move in to their property far too quickly.
As times get harder, more people turn to crime. Setting up a cannabis factory in a property is not that difficult. We had one case of a landlord based in Dunfermline who unknowingly rented his property out to a drug baron who produced a crop of five hundred plants with a street value of 336k in six months. The first time our landlord knew about this was when two detectives turned up at his door and questioned him for three hours. By the time the police had raided his bungalow, residents had alerted the police of the smell of the drug and the house was a mess. The living room and three bedrooms had been turned in to growing rooms, and the floors and ceilings were black with tarpaulin, which was piled with compost. A large hole had been cut in to the ceiling and bare cables were running through to power high powered heating lights while exposed wires trailed dangerous throughout the house. They used the bath to mix fertiliser which stained it red and took hours to scrub off. It cost the landlord £5k to put the property in a rentable state as he had not taken a malicious insurance policy to cover the damage costs.
Still, he got off quite lightly. In some cases, drug farmers have caused 30-40k in damages to properties. Thankfully, the police have become much more successful in carrying out raids on cannabis factories quite early on because their use of helicopters, outfitted with new technology, will sense an adverse amount of electricity coming from a property.
You should immediately be suspicious that there’s a problem when the tenant won’t let you come in to the property and will try to keep you away at all costs, your neighbours will tell you that someone’s not living in the property, the windows are blacked out and the letter box is sealed so that fumes can’t escape. Some stats show that there are now as many as 20 cannabis factories being found and raided by the police every day in the UK, with 1.5million plants worth hundreds of millions of pounds being seized each year.
Please make sure you carry mid-term inventory checks at your property, as you can never be too careful. Happy letting.
Landlord action was set up by landlords for landlords with problem tenants. That is, tenants who are in rent arrears or break some other part of a tenancy agreement. Landlord & tenant law is a specialist area and we found solicitor charges were too much and too vague. When you have a bad tenant you want to evict them fast. Any landlord would want a bad tenant out. they want advice and help with the law. And that's what we do. We are experts in this area and unlike solicitors, we only act for landlords, never tenants. And we'll help recover the outstanding rent. Our free advice line is open to all landlords and we have carried out thousands of evictions.