Landlords in the UK are being warned to be on the look-out for tenants installing a cannabis factory on their property.
The warning comes as police are increasingly discovering cannabis factories around the UK, particularly in Sheffield, Huddersfield, Leicester, Bath and Grimsby.
Police have also found large cannabis farms in Liverpool, Coventry, Cardiff and Inverness as well as dozens of other villages and cities.
Police in Northern Ireland say they are uncovering at least two cannabis factories every week - they say they are seeing a 44% increase since last year.
Criminal gangs rent homes to grow cannabis
Increasingly, criminal gangs are opting not to use industrial units to grow cannabis and rack up big profits and are turning their attention to renting a residential property such as houses and flats.
Now Danny Zane, a director of My Property Inventories, is warning that the problem is a national one and affects inner city and suburban rental properties alike.
He added: “The cultivation of cannabis can cause a lot of damage to property which may not be covered by the landlord’s insurance and it can also result in the loss of rent while the property is prepared.
“Growing cannabis takes a lot of equipment and excessive energy use and it often increases the chance of a fire.
“Agents and landlords need to be vigilant and they should carry out regular checks on their properties and look out for signs that cannabis cultivation may be taking place.”
What to look for when cannabis cultivation is suspected
He added that some of the tell-tale signs include complaints from neighbours about criminal activity, strong odours coming from the property and equipment and fertiliser being delivered at odd times.
To help landlords further, My Property Inventories, has compiled some tips to highlight what to look for:
• Property windows are covered permanently from the inside
• Electric lights left switched on all day and the curtains are drawn
• Someone visits daily or weekly but doesn't stay long and it appears that no one lives there permanently
• A vent may lead from the roof or a window into the property
• Be aware of electrical noise from inside the property, for example cooling fans
• Take note of gardening equipment or compost bags being left outside
In addition, landlords who suspect a potential tenant may be wanting to use their property to grow cannabis should be aware of those were willing to pay large sums upfront to rent the property.
Another issue is that the tenant is either never available or gives various reasons for not allowing the landlord access to the property and the electricity boxes may have been tampered with.
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