6 Signs Of Cannabis Cultivation And How To Prevent It As A Landlord

Of the nearly 150,000 drugs seizures by police in across England and Wales in 2015/16, over 100,000 were for cannabis.

The large-scale use of this Class B illegal drug is supported not only by industrial-scale cannabis farming at commercial premises, but by residential properties.

For landlords who are unwittingly housing cannabis farmers, the best case scenario could see walls knocked down to make room, flooding or extensive damp from watering systems, and eventually lost rent.

In severe cases, flammable gases used to create butane hash oil can cause an explosion, or a property owner could be facing 14 years imprisonment under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Preventative measures to secure a vacant property and thorough background checks are two ways to prevent this situation in the first place – but if you do pick up on any of the following signs of cannabis farming, you’ll know to nip it in the bud by informing the police:

  1. Too many or too little bin bags. If your tenant is rarely putting out the bins, it suggests that they’re not living in the property. On the flip-side, a mountain of bin bags could contain cannabis plants.
  2. Condensation. The mixture of high heat and moisture needed to grow the cannabis plant will result in higher than average condensation levels on the windows.
  3. Blacked out windows. Cannabis plants require a lot of artificial light, so look out for curtains which are permanently closed or blacked-out windows.
  4. Smell. Cannabis has a very distinct, sweet aroma which will be present in the last four weeks of the growing process.
  5. Loud fans. Extractor fans can combat the condensation issue, but can present another warning sound loud and clear in the form of a continuous hum.
  6. Security. Bars on the window and CCTV may seem excessive for any law-abiding tenant.

Evidence of tampering with wires inside the property is also a sign, but obviously, if your tenant is growing cannabis they may be reluctant to allow you round for an inspection. To avoid inadvertently lending your property to criminal activity, don’t allow anyone to move in who offers cash for a short-term lease up front, and never forgo a background check.

To find out more about your responsibilities as a landlord and how insurance can cover you for lost rent, call the team at Rollinson Smith on 01952 607600 or info@rollinsonsmith.co.uk.