In recent years there has been a sharp rise in the number of rental properties being used as cannabis farms with insurance often not covering the damage caused.
Figures show that 7,865 cannabis farms were identified nationally in 2011 and 2012 – a 15% increase from 2009 and 2010.
There are numerous news articles with landlords being left with huge repair bills after letting their property to tenants who have then turned their properties into cannabis farms. Landlords often assume that damage resulting from this which can include ripping up floor boards, knocking through walls and creating an indoor greenhouse environment is covered by their landlords insurance.
Whilst some insurers who offer malicious damage will consider damage resulting from cannabis farms as a malicious damage by tenants claim many of them have a limit for this type of claim for £5000 meaning a landlord could still be thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Landlords have to be extremely stringent and ensure that their properties are regularly visited as well as carrying out the usual tenant checks before letting out a property.
A warning sign of a suspect tenant can include those looking to pay six months’ rent upfront; a pointed interest in the power supplies to the property; and the reasons for renting, such as a new job, not tying up with their references and other paperwork. Landlords are being urged to regularly check their properties throughout the tenancy including any sheds or outbuildings and look for signs of cannabis growing.