Landlords could pay for cannabis farm damage

AFS Team·20 March 2014·4 min read
Landlords could pay for cannabis farm damage
A growing problem for landlords in the UK is to have their properties being turned into secret cannabis farms and now an insurance specialist is warning their insurance cover may not pay out for the damage.

The warning comes from insurance specialist firm which says there is a growing trend of landlords picking-up big repair bills after unwittingly letting their property to tenants who have created a cannabis farm.

Official figures reveal that there was a 15% increase in cannabis farms being identified across the country with 7,865 being uncovered in 2011/12.

Landlords should check insurance small print

However, the figures do not reveal the damage being caused to the property with the cannabis farmers ripping up floorboards and knocking walls through to create a greenhouse indoors.

The firm's Richard Burgess said: “Unfortunately, most landlords will assume that the damage caused will be covered by their landlord's insurance under 'malicious damage by tenant' cover.

“However, not all insurance companies provide this type of cover in the insurance policy and those that do may find that there are limits to the pay-out, typically around £5,000.

“This may mean a landlord could be facing a bill of thousands of pounds to repair damage.”

News for landlords and cannabis farms

He added that this is an issue facing landlords on a daily basis and he urged them to search Google for landlords who have had problems with cannabis farms on their property and they will find hundreds of such stories and lots of landlords facing massive repair bills.

The insurance specialist is also urging that all landlords carry out regular checks on their property, and it should include sheds and outbuildings. These visits must be carefully logged to record when those visits took place because if there are signs that cannabis is being grown on the premises then action needs to be taken as soon as possible.

Among the warning signs that landlords should be looking for include having a new tenant wanting to pay six months’ rent upfront and taking a particular interest in the electric supply to the property. Landlords should also be wary of new tenants claiming to rent the property to take up a job but then having concerns with references and the paperwork.

Government action to crack down on cannabis problem

The growing numbers of cannabis farms being found on rented properties has prompted the government to organise a response on what can be done.

Various organisations, including the Residential Landlords Association, have met with the Home Office to discuss what can be done to tackle cannabis cultivation and how it can be prevented from taking place in local communities.

The organisation has already highlighted the problem that private landlords face in having to spend time and effort in repairing the damage to their properties and then facing issues with their insurer refusing to pay out.