A recent drugs raid of a property in Harrow in which 320 cannabis plants were found, highlights to landlords the very real risk that their property could be being used as a cannabis factory. With a recent report that up to 94% of cannabis factories operate out of domestic premises and since 2003 an increasing number of rental properties have been targeted.
For many landlords the possibility that their property could be used as a cannabis factory is unlikely to to even be considered, however the potential damage and impact on landlords can be significant and typically includes:
- ceilings and walls being knocked down
- furniture destroyed or thrown away
- severe water damage
- widespread damp and condensation
- electricity meters bypassed
- the boiler being tampered with.
There are a number of steps that a landlord can take to identify anyone potentially involved in cannabis growing:
1. Carry out in-depth checks including photographic identification, thorough references from previous landlords and employers, details of their current address
2. Be wary of tenants who want to move in quickly
3. Don't offer short-term lets and don't accept cash in advance for any fees, deposits or rent
4. Communicate regularly with neighbours
Here at Northwood Harrow we always ensure that potential tenants are fully credit checked and referenced. Regular inspections of all of the properties that we fully manage ensure that any telltale signs are very quickly picked up.