Beware Of Rental Properties Being Turned Into Cannabis Farms

Beware Of Rental Properties Being Turned Into Cannabis Farms

New Government Guide On Cannabis Farms Launched

The UK Government have launched yet another guide for landlords and their appointed lettings and property management agents warning of the consequences of investment properties being used as cannabis farms.

The launch of the new Home Office Cannabis Farm guide comes as the number of cannabis plants seized by UK police forces across the UK in the past two years exceeds 1 Million.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have stated that its landlord advice team have received calls from a high proportion of private rental sector landlord members who have been affected by criminal activity in their rental properties by drug gangs using them as cannabis farms.

Among a number of concerns that the RLA have is that private landlords can be affected on multiple levels;

  • Some insurers do not provide coverage for damages caused by alterations to properties to accommodate lights and other growing facilities.
  • Lettings and property management agents, landlords and anyone concerned with the operation of the rental property can receive a maximum of 14 years in prison and/or a fine if they knowingly allow the production of controlled drugs to take place in rented accommodation, under Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Landlords can also be prosecuted for receiving proceeds of crime by accepting rental payments from drug gangs or even face being prosecuted for money laundering offences or have their assets seized and confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act in some cases.

The new Home Office guide to Cannabis Farms reveals some tell-tale signs of how to spot a cannabis farm, including:

  • Strong and sickly sweet smell, not necessarily the same as the smell of cannabis being smoked;
  • Lighting or ventilation equipment being brought into a property, or a constant buzz of ventilation or large ducting tubes protruding out of windows;
  • Windows being blacked out and any indication of strong lighting being used, even during daylight;
  • High levels of heat and condensation, resulting in peeling paint or mildewed wallboard or carpet;
  • Sudden increases or decreases in electricity bills;
  • Substantial volumes of vegetable material being thrown away or dumped in the garden.

But the guide – written by police and the Home Office, with support from the National Landlords Association (NLA), makes it clear that property lettings and managing agents should not tackle suspected tenant offenders directly because the rental property may have been rigged with booby traps in order to slow down unwanted access and provide extra time for the occupants to escape.

The advice from the officials is simple – call the police.

Below is a video from Merseyside Police with a guide showing how to spot cannabis farms in your area

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